Blake looks to build on Headingley hundred

Wednesday 29th September 2010

Farnborough’s finest, left-handed Alex Blake hit 17 boundaries in his maiden century

By Mark Pennell
Though his maiden first-class hundred failed to prevent Kent“s demotion to the LV= Championship second tier, Alex Blake is hoping the confidence of reaching three figures will boost his batting game for next season.
The 21-year-old from Farnborough marked the end of his fourth season with the county first string by hitting a 142-ball century with 17 fours at the Test venue near Leeds to help Kent finish the campaign with a four-wicket win.
Sadly, Blake“s achievements were overshadowed somewhat with a second ball duck in the second innings and ultimately, Kent“s relegation, but the Leeds Metropolitan University student will never forget his Headingley hundred and the moment he jumped for joy punching the air.
“What with me being at University up here I“ve got to know a couple of the Yorkshire lads; Adam Lyth and Jonathan Bairstow, so it was quite a fitting place to get my maiden hundred,” said Blake, back in the north for the last year of his Leisure and Culture degree.
“It“s a historic Test ground and now an amazing stadium after having a lot of work done to it, so it was a nice place for it to happen. I don“t know why it is, but with cricket there are certain grounds when you“ll feel you will do well and although this was my first appearance at Headingley, I know the area well and felt confident when I turned up there. I felt at home, at ease and really happy to get to three figures.
“I shared a flat with Jonnie Bairstow (the Yorkshire wicketkeeper) last year because he was also on a course at Leeds Met“ and then we ended up going on the England development squad trip together. Even though there is a little bit of rivalry and banter between us, we became good mates. Quite a few people have come up to me since and said well done for beating Jonnie to the first hundred, but he was very congratulatory too, which was really nice of him.”
As for the close season, Blake has set his sights on starting his final-year dissertation, working on his strength and conditioning, fine-tuning his bowling action and playing hockey for the University.
He added: “I used to play football when I was younger, but then I got a place at the Kent Academy which clashed with the football on Saturdays. I“ve got into hockey since coming up here and I“m now playing at a reasonable standard.
“My main winter project is to get my bowling on track again and get stronger physically. It“s something I really want to carry on doing because it gives me more strings to my bow and, as an all-rounder, a greater opportunity of getting into the Kent side.”
Photograph: Sarah Ansell