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Walker wants to end on a high
Walker wants to end on a high

Kent go into their last away Championship game of the season two points from safety at the foot of the table, knowing that victory this week at Taunton’s County Ground against Somerset will go a long way to guaranteed safety. 

Matt Walker’s side has travelled West still reeling from not being able to beat Nottinghamshire at Canterbury last week despite bossing the first three days – and it is a fact that was not lost on the coach when he spoke to KSN from Taunton.

“It was an excellent three and a half days,” Walker admitted. “It all went to plan until the end. It was a good toss to win playing two spinners and the plan was to bat first and bat big.”

“We gave ourselves really a good chance by forcing the follow-on and it was really just the partnership between Hutton and Clarke took the game away from us.”

“Time disappeared as their advantage grew. The two quick wickets we got after tea on the last day gave us a sniff, but losing quick wickets up front meant we had to pull the plug on the chase.” 

“Not to get over the line from a points point of view was obviously disappointing – the performance was excellent, and everyone gave it their all, the attitudes were brilliant – we made a side follow-on, that is something we have not done in a while.”

“It is just a shame that that one partnership we could not break. The boys gave it their all and I cannot fault anybody, but we did come away with a good draw with good bonus points in the bag.” 

“It is important to remember that we are not going into this week having to make up a win on Middlesex (who welcome Warwickshire to Lord’s), now it is just a couple of points which is nothing really.”

“But it will not change our outlook on Somerset – we have come here wanting to win. We wanted to win the last three; we got close last week, and we will try again this week.”

“Of course, we will keep an eye on Lord’s, but we cannot worry what they are doing – we must focus on what we are doing and probably the same next week as unless something dramatic happens this week, it will go to the last game against Lancashire at Canterbury next week.” 

“We need to win two more games and that’s the same approach!” 

Kent’s injuries to their seam attack continue – Nathan Gilchrist is not fit after picking up a strain last week and he joins Matt Quinn and Grant Stewart on the injury list while New Zealand seamer Ben Lister has returned to his homeland after getting injured playing for the Black Caps in the recent One Day series with England.

All this leaves the seam attack looking very youthful. “It is not ideal, but it does give opportunities to younger players.” said Walker.

“Jas Singh has got better all season and out of the back of the fifty over competition is bowling beautifully and Arafat Bhuiyan has played a couple of games earlier in the season.”

“For sure they are young bowlers, but they are not novices, but this is where we have been in the past and is our future. Now is their time if they both play to grab their chance…” 

The weather forecast for the game is mixed – a good first day on Tuesday with the rain for the next three, and Walker said, “how much play we get is up to the gods and hopefully it won’t play a big part in the outcome of this game!” 

Picture supplied by Max Flego Photography.