Glamorgan v Kent preview
Glamorgan v Kent preview

Kent will travel to Cardiff in good spirits to take on unbeaten Division 2 rivals Glamorgan from Friday in their third match of this season’s 14-game Specsavers County Championship campaign.

The county bossed every session of this week’s rain ruined first-class draw with Pakistan in Canterbury where acting captain Joe Denly hit a fluent unbeaten 113 to put Kentish noses ahead on first innings before the sides shook hands on a stalemate with the hosts sitting pretty on 209 for four.

Ahead of the game Denly, who started the season with three championship ducks and an eight in his four knocks, had vowed: “I’ll be looking to get a big score under my belt and spend as much time out there as I can.”

And he was true to his word, batting 246 minutes for a 24th first-class century that included 14 fours and three sixes as he and Sean Dickson (74) posted 160 for the second wicket – a Kent record against Pakistan beating the 106 set at Canterbury, some fifty years ago, by Charlie Rowe and Chris Tavaré.

On the opening day of their tour of the UK and Ireland, Pakistan had been skittled for 168 inside 56 overs courtesy of Will Gidman’s maiden five-wicket haul since making his early-season loan of 2016 from Nottinghamshire permanent.

Having suffered two difficult seasons with the ball since, Gidman, 33, walked off with the match ball a much-relieved man, beaming in delight and with figures of five for 47.

“I’ve not had that much opportunity to get a five-for in my time at Kent so far and there are good reasons for that,” said Gidman after collecting his 10th five-wicket career haul in his 12th first-class appearance for the club.

“It’s not a monkey off my back so to speak, it just felt nice to take wickets again and celebrate those ‘sort of moments’. I said in pre-season that I was desperate to get my bowling back on track and I’m pleased in that this may be the first step.”

Gidman added: “I’ve spent my career looking at and dissecting my own performance. I’ve never for a second thought about, or even liked the idea of, blaming others. I take responsibility for my own display and the reality is that, since joining Kent, I’ve gone through phases where the ball hasn’t come out that well.

“If you don’t get much opportunity, your confidence goes a little bit and, from a technical point of view, you lose your rhythm slightly – it’s a vicious cycle. But I’m thankful I got an opportunity here and that I got the rewards.

“It’s not been easy for me at times as I’m quite an emotional bloke,” conceded the Buckinghamshire-born all-rounder: “I take great pride in my performance and my team-mates will probably say how worrying it is that I’m so much of a perfectionist. I’ve put on a brave face but at times it has been hard. I’m still a work in progress, but I’ve had a good game and can move forward from here.

“I’ve been trying to hit the pitch a little harder, not on a shorter length like Mitch Claydon, but much fuller, and that’s how I got all my wickets against Pakistan.

“If you look at my career stats I would think that 80 per cent of my wickets have been from fuller-length balls, but there’s a huge difference between bowling into the pitch full-of-a-length than sending down floaty half-volleys.”

Gidman will now hope to be named in the Kent squad travelling to Wales tomorrow (Thursday) where, for the first time in almost 11 years they will play the hosts at the Sophia Gardens ground. The historic name for the one-time Test venue has been reinstated this season following the end of a 10-year naming-rights deal with an electricity supplier.