Eyes on the prize for Walker
Eyes on the prize for Walker

Kent Spitfires coach Matt Walker has told KSN that his side will travel to The Oval for Thursday’s Quarter Final of the Vitality Blast knowing that it’s all to play for with a place in Saturday’s Finals Day at Edgbaston the prize for the winners.

“We’re delighted to be in the last eight,” the Kent coach confessed. “At one stage we didn’t think we’d get any cricket at all, so to be in the Quarter Final of a competition is a really good thing!”

Walker continued, “It’s a tough game to win, this is sport and I know that everyone wants to win as there’s an expectation from everyone; from the Club, from the fans and the players, we all want to win.”

“It’s not easy as there are eighteen other counties all trying to do the same thing and so to do that you have to play well for long periods of time on the day and on the big occasions and in the right moments, the big moments, you’ve got to win those moments and you’ve got to win those days as it’s what it takes to get over the line.”

Reflecting on the qualification, the coach told us, ”This group have done really well this year, a young group moving forward really quickly with opportunity being taken by them and the next hurdle is to get over that line and whether it’s this year, or whether it’s next year or indeed over the next couple of years we do get over that hurdle.”

“It’ll be a really significant moment for this club, it’s been a long time; 2007 was the last time we won a trophy and whilst we got promoted, we got to the Royal London in 2018, we’ve been close, we’ve been in and around it; runners up to Essex in our pool this year.”

“We were the fourth best team in the country last year; we’re the fourth best team in the country points wise this year in the four day stuff, we’re in and around it, you’ve got to be in it to have any chance of getting a bit of silverware in the cabinet, it’s just the final stages when you know that you’ve got to really click!”

“And in T20 it really is on the day, anything that has gone before doesn’t count for much, we’ve just got to turn up on the day and make sure we get it right or get the big moments right.”

With Thursday’s game potentially the club’s last of 2020, Walker said, “We’ll try and take some pressure off the players, it’s not about building it up, it’s about building down so that the players see it as “just” another game, bottom line is it really is pretty simple, play better than the opposition in three more games and we will win that silverware!”

“It’s all stepping-stones for this group and it’s not about searching too hard for that prize! You’ve got to keep concentrating on the process and on the little things and hopefully everything else will take care of itself.”

Unlike most of the rest of the season that they have played, the weather forecast for Thursday isn’t great as Walker conceded, “it (the weather) always throws in an uncertainty and we’re well aware that we might have to adapt pretty quickly if it’s a reduced game but we’ll be ready for it, we’ve got the team for any occasion now and we’ll take one step at a time and let’s get to Edgbaston first, make sure we win on Thursday at The Oval and then we’ll deal with that.”

“But it is October and unfortunately that’s the downside of playing so late on as there was always that threat of being some weather around – it doesn’t help as you just want to turn up and play, what will be will be and we’ll make sure that we’re ready for everything.”

The Kent coach confirmed that he will be taking a full squad to The Oval for the game and they travel will the full backing of the Kent supporting public as the Spitfires look to make their first Finals Day in over a decade.