Walker hoping for Kent Lord’s Final
Walker hoping for Kent Lord’s Final

Kent go into their last Bob Willis Trophy Southern section game this weekend at the Spitfire Ground, knowing that victory over Hampshire could still send Matt Walker’s side to the Final at Lord’s if results go their way elsewhere.

Speaking to KSN before the weekend, Walker admitted, “It’s straight back into the four-day game after Saturday’s T20 with Essex so there’s no time to really think about it, it really is straight in and it’ll be tough!”

“We’ve been used to this before, everyone’s been in this boat before around the country and it’s always a little trickier going that way going back into four-day cricket after a T20 stint.”

“But, we’ve played well in the games in this last period in the shortened format and we should be going into this game with Hampshire full of confidence and self-belief, we won our last four day game at The Oval which is still pretty fresh in the memory and we’re looking forward to it and we still have plenty to play for; we’re sitting second in the group and it’s not beyond possibility that we can still get through.”

“We need a bit of luck to go our way elsewhere with the results but it’s nice to go into this last game knowing that we can actually push forward in this competition.”

Walker then explained the scenario facing his side and how qualification for the Final works. He said, “The Bob Willis is different to the T20 as the best two group winners automatically go into the Final.”

“Whilst in the short format, it’s the top two from each group and then the two best third placed teams, but the four day game is just straight to a Lord’s Final, three groups and the two winners with the most points, we’ve got a chance but please don’t ask me the maths behind it as there’s a few teams with more points than us going into the games, but you just never know!”

“We would have definitely taken this position going into the last game when we started, no one really knew what to expect and how anyone was going to play with the lack of preparation and just how it was all going to work, whether the competition would even still be going at this stage with COVID and goodness knows what else still hovering over us.”

“I think it was such a strange start and it sort of happened very quickly that we were back playing four-day cricket with no England players around for most of it. Our philosophy was to give people opportunities, to rotate our seamers to try and get them unscathed and at the same time play some really good cricket.”

“We’ve managed to do that and to be able to push for a chance at a Lord’s Final going into the last group game is what everyone wants. So yes I’m very pleased with the way that we’ve played in all four games so far, hasn’t been perfect but… we had the missed opportunity to beat Essex early on and that would have given is a really good chance of getting through.”

“But it is what it is, and we’ve still played some brilliant stuff along the way and it’s nice to know that all being well we win this game and get a little bit of luck going our way and we’ll see what happens!”

“We’ve got the luxury of going into a Championship game with everybody fit and raring to go – we want people striving to get into that team and putting in performances to give ourselves a few headaches.”

“It’s what we want, you have it both ways as you want your players to push and have everyone trying to perform and take an opportunity when it happens which is when it becomes very competitive and tough to make some decisions. It’s a good problem to have…”