By Mark Pennell
Former Yorkshire and Derbyshire leg-spinner Mark Lawson (pictured) is hoping that Kent“s search for a spinner will result in a third and final shot at first- class cricket for him.
The 24-year-old former England Under-19 player was thrown into the deep end after being named in Kent“s side that drew with Pakistan in Canterbury last week, yet Lawson grabbed the opportunity to shine with both hands; taking six wickets in the match and scoring a lusty 31 in the Kent innings.
Though stints with Yorkshire, his county of birth Yorkshire and then at Derbyshire, who released him last season, proved unsuccessful, Lawson is banking on this being a third time lucky chance at St Lawrence.
“Kent first got in touch with me in February when Simon Willis sent me an email inviting me to come for a pre-season trial,” explained Lawson, who has also enjoyed a loan spell with Middlesex.
“I“ve had seven years in and around first-class cricket and felt this was another opportunity to try and make a go of it. I felt that I should give it one last shot and that if I didn“t I“d only kick myself in a few years time.
“I came down and felt I bowled really well against some inexperienced traillists and Kent invited me back for pre-season when I felt I enjoyed a pretty solid week with the first team when I bowled as well as I probably ever have.
“We talked about my availability to play, because nowadays I have to fit playing in around my coaching work, so I played in the friendly at Trent Bridge and a couple of 2nd XI championship games, so when the chance came to play against Pakistan I took it.”
Lawson added: “I was so excited to be asked, if you“d have told me four months ago that I“d be playing for Kent against Pakistan I“d have laughed at you. It was so exciting and I“ll admit I was a bit nervous the first day, but I enjoyed every minute of it.
“I“m not sure what will come of this chance with Kent now and I“m trying not to raise my hopes too much. I feel I“ve got my confidence to experiment back now, so am hoping I can progress a little further in the game.
“If I bowl well I hope I might earn a contract for next season because I believe this is probably my last chance in the professional game. I know Paul Farbrace really well from my time with England Under-19s and he knows my fighting qualities and he knows I“ll give it my all.”
As for his display against Pakistan, Lawson said: “I was happy with the whole game if I“m honest because it was such a different challenge for me. I“ve been out of the first-class game for a while now and these aren“t the sort of players I“ve got used to bowling at while I“ve been playing for Hanging Heaton in the Bradford League.
“I was happy how I came back after going for a few early on and felt that was a good battle to win. Although I felt I could have bowled better, it was good to come out of the innings with four wickets."
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