A stunning 199 from left-hander Brendan Nash helped seal Kent’s first LV= County Championship win of the season, as the Club successfully chased down an imposing 411 against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.
The former West Indies batsman was in imperious form, striking 26 boundaries and one six during his 230-ball stay. However, one run shy of a highly deserved double-century, the 35 year-old was forced to retire with exhaustion after batting for more than 300 minutes in stifling heat. It meant his team-mates, Calum Haggett and Charlie Shreck, were left to knock off the final 21-runs to seal a famous win - but it was Nash who, quite rightly, took all the plaudits for a truly memorable innings. His haul in the South West took him to 735 first class runs for the season, at an impressive average of 56.34.
Brendan recovered from his marathon innings to take the field for Kent’s latest four-day clash with Hampshire, where he spoke to the official website about his all-important match-winning knock.
Brendan, what an innings. How proud are you of what you achieved?
The conditions were batter-friendly so it was good to cash in after I missed out in the first innings. I knew a few of us had to put our hands up in the second knock and we certainly did that. I was pleased to make such a contribution and it was a great run chase, in a winning cause by the boys.
What was the feeling at the start of the second innings?
Well we all felt we had a chance and we had a chat when the offer was put to us. The majority of us were positive so we went about it right from the start - despite losing an early wicket. The innings seemed to flow and we knew that if we could stay close and keep wickets in hand then we were in with a real chance. We knew that we could score at eight runs an over, late on in the innings, and go close to victory. To actually win it was superb. Full credit to Gloucestershire, it’s easy to say that now - as we won the match - but there was a big crowd in on the Saturday and the sun was out. The people got to enjoy it because it could have gone either way, right until the very end. It was Championship cricket at its best.
Did it please you that you played such an important role in sealing the win?
Of course. I haven’t had too many opportunities to win a game or help in a major way, here at Kent, so it was a real enjoyable experience. My responsibility is to help the team so it was a shame that I had to come off near the end but I had full faith in my team-mates. My condition was a bit worrying as I wasn’t feeling great and it was becoming tougher and tougher for me.
When did you start to feel unwell?
It was probably about 20 minutes before I came off. My vision wasn’t clear and I was struggling to focus. My head was spinning and I didn’t face many balls as I kept getting off strike. Tred (James Tredwell) was taking lots of the strike and I guess that masked it a bit but I had very low energy levels and the umpire saw a bit of sense and offered me a drink. He then said we should bring on a trainer and I guess it was good foresight because I wasn’t well.
What happened when you came off?
I felt really bad so I rested on the physio bench and they put an ice towel over my head. They turned off the lights and gave me an energy drink to aid my recovery. It kicked in a bit and I tried to sit up when I heard lots of cheering as I guessed that Tred had got out and knew it would be left to the last pair. With this in my mind, I tried to sit up – just in case I needed to bat again. Fortunately the guys got us over the line and sealed a remarkable win. It was tense but really enjoyable.
You then went straight into this game. Was it hard to go back-to-back?
To be honest, it was very tough! The first day was a real struggle - not just for me but for all the boys, as we spent a long day in the field. After our positive performance against Gloucester, we wanted to carry on batting as there was a real excitement and we wanted best use of the conditions. Sadly that was not to be but the way forward now is to try and force another result, here at Canterbury.
Do you think that win will be a real catalyst for the side?
Well there have been a few things that haven't gone our way this season and we’ve had a few kicks in the backside. Having said that, the win over Sussex in the Yorkshire Bank 40 was a real morale booster as was the win in our last game. The spirit and everything just changed in the group after the Sussex victory. It’s not too late for the four-day group to put in a show at the back end of the season and to start climbing the table. That is certainly the aim now for us.
Photo: Sarah Ansell