It’s been a hectic past couple of weeks, but I’m glad to say that we’ve kept our unbeaten run intact. We’ve been in a few difficult situations, but have shown the resolve to get out of them.
It was nice to get a bit of time off whilst the lads went up to The Parks to play Oxford MCCU, although we practiced on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before the first CB40 game against Yorkshire.
Getting that first win was good and it was a younger side than what we’ve been playing in the Championship.
Some guys came into the mix, Sam Billings opened with Keysy, Alex Blake came in at three, Sam Northeast and Bally got a game too, so that was good that they came in and we won as convincingly as we did.
It got a bit close towards the end, but Stevo batted fantastically well and he was disappointed to get out when he did, otherwise we’d have won that with three or four overs to spare.
Special credit must go to Matt Coles too as he picked up six wickets in that game and it came at just the right time as he hit form just at the time they were picking the Lions squad.
He has been doing really well with the red ball, so to do it with the white ball on TV was just what he needed. It showed people up and down the country what this Matt Coles is all about.
That game gave me the chance to have a close look at both Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root. Bairstow has obviously now been called up for the Test squad this week after a good start to the season, whilst Root looks like one for the future as he looks pretty much set up to take on the next step.
He plays well off the back foot and in international cricket you need to be able to do that. Yorkshire have got a couple of young guys who have done well over the winter and it wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t both represent England in the long run.
After that game, we went into the game against Essex at Chelmsford and I must say it was quite some start to the game!
I was sat there with my feet up and before I knew it, it was 9 for 5 and I was in. We knew it was going to be a bit damp and a delayed start. You’re always on edge when that happens as you haven’t seem too much of the wicket and your preparation is very limited.
When I saw Scotty Newman get out second ball, a few warning signs came up and I was never too far away from my kit! To be out there at 9 for 5 though was something that none of us expected, but it was important not to think that I could be out next.
You have to go out there and be relaxed as it couldn’t get any worse. The only way was up and if you get out it’s easy to go back into the dressing room and say the rest of you got out too!
Stevo and I were both pretty relaxed and we knew with the weather around that we wouldn’t have to be out there for long. In the end we were off again soon after and then only had to face just ten balls on day two.
That meant we were back out there at 24 for 5 at the start of day three and I must say that’s the first time I’ve batted across three days! Even Jen said that I batted a whole day, so it couldn’t have happened before!!!
When we finally got the chance to have a good bat, the wicket had improved and we managed to put on a good partnership. Stevo is a bit more attacking than me, so I could play a bit more of a supporting role, a bit like I did for Powelly when he got his ton up at Northampton.
There was no real pressure on me to score as runs were coming at the other end. I just needed to stay there, because the longer we both batted, the more likely we’d get a decent score.
Our first real target was to get up to about 150, but it the end we were a bit disappointed to get out for 225. Once Stevo got out, we lost those last three or four wickets quite quickly and that’s something we’ve been trying to avoid this year.
It probably meant I missed out on my hundred, but in the context of the game, the partnership between Stevo and I was the main thing.
That game saw Ivan Thomas make his debut and you’re always nervous for the guy who’s coming in as you’ve been there. He was calm and relaxed throughout the whole game though and when he batted with me, he was enjoying the moment.
With his bowling, he got into it straight away, hitting a line and length which is why he was picked. He’s done really well for his university this year and did that for us. That’s what Jimmy wants us to do, bowl a really tight line and make it hard for the opposition to score runs.
Mark Davies also showed how accurate bowling can be rewarded with good figures, so it was pleasing that we took a lead after the first innings having been 9 for 5 on that first day.
On Sunday, we had the Club’s Open Day and it was a good fun day. It’s been a great initiative by the Club to do it and it’s always hard for us to be able mix with fans during the games as we come off the field and want to put our feet up.
Sunday gave us the chance to have a good chat with people of all ages and as players we enjoyed it.
This week we turn our attention back to the Championship again and Northants will be looking for revenge after we turned them over earlier in the season.
Andy Hall should be back for them and he’ll want to do well coming back to Kent. We’ve also got to be wary of Jack Brooks as he can be a handful. He has bowled well against the West Indies, so we will have to be on our guard.
Last night saw Daniel Bell-Drummond pick up his award from the ECB and for me, it’s richly deserved. He’s been around the England Under 19’s for a few years now.
We know seeing him around the nets what a good player he is and having spoken to him recently I know how proud he is to have the most runs in One Day Internationals for England Under 19’s.
He is a pretty humble kid, but he can be really proud of what he’s done.
The Benefit carrys on at pace and we had a great dinner up in London with Michael Vaughan and Andrew Strauss.
Vaughany gave Strauss a bit of stick about the DRS, but he can do that now he’s in the commentary box! There was a good bit of banter between the two and it was a great event and everyone seemed to go away happy with how it all went.
We’ve got lots more things happening, but it’s all working to plan as both Min and Ali have been excellent with all the planning. We made sure we got it sorted before the season and we speak quite a lot to make sure everything is as it should be.
This last week has seen my wife join the ranks of twitter so I’ll have to be careful what I say from now on! She said she did it for career path purposes!
Lastly, we have out first home CB40 game against The Unicorns on Sunday and I’m hoping we see a good crowd out at Canterbury. It’s always so much more fun to play in front of a crowd.
It will be the first time I’ve played against the Unicorns. There will be a few faces that we know and some up and coming guys too. You have got to be wary of them as years gone past when you played the minor counties, it could be a potential banana skin and with the Unicorns it could be just like that.
We shouldn’t underestimate them and must make sure we play to our potential.
I hope you can all come along.