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Kent lift the LV County Championship Division 2 trophy

Thursday 17th September 2009

Rob Key heaped praise on spinner James Tredwell and director of cricket Graham Ford

Kent v Leicestershire LV County Championship, Day four. Canterbury.
By Mark Pennell
KENT lifted the LV County Championship Division 2 trophy after their final home game of the season with Leicestershire petered out into a draw.
Former St Lawrence favourite Paul Nixon kept Rob Key“s title-winning side in the field until 4.30pm in posting a career-best 173 not out before the sides could shake hands on a draw with Leicestershire on 350 for two declared – a slight overall lead of 45.
That was the cue for celebrations to begin as Key collected the silverware from Hugh Morris the ECB“s managing director of England cricket and a cheque to the tune of £115,000 for clinching promotion at the first time of asking.
Having sprayed the bubbly over team-mates and camera crews alike, a delighted Key said: “We got wins just when we needed them, but your life as a skipper is so much easier when you“ve got a spinner like James Tredwell in your side who can bowl you 30-plus overs in the first innings and get you wickets and that“s been a key to our success.
“I“m muted in my celebration really, because I look at that banner and see Division 2 winners. I“m not taking away anything from the achievement because it“s not been easy this year, but it won“t go down in my career as one of the great moments.
“It“s just part of the way forward, something we had to do to get back in the top flight. I still want to win the championship outright here, and winning the championship means the first division so the hard work starts now.
“There is a difference in the standard and I“m pleased we“re going back to pitting ourselves against the best players in the county. It would be a big regret at the end of my career if we didn“t win the championship.
“There are rumours and stuff flying about, but I do have a year left on my contract and I“ve not heard anything from anyone. I“m about to meet with ‘Johnno“ (chairman of cricket Graham Johnson) for re-negotiations so we will just have to go from there.”
In paying tribute to director of cricket Graham Ford, who leaves the county at the end of the month, Key added: “He“s been fantastic. You never hear ‘Fordie“ giving himself any credit so it“s best that it comes from me.
“His record speaks for itself. When he arrived we were one of the worst Twenty20 sides in the country, we“re now one of the best in one-day cricket in general. It was a real shame we got relegated in the championship last year because things could have been so different, but we“ve come straight back up and much credit goes to ‘Fordie“ and Simon Willis.
“I will miss ‘Fordie“. Sometimes you“re happy to see coaches go, but with ‘Fordie“ I“ll be absolutely gutted. I“m sure Paul Farbrace will do a fantastic job for us, but he has a tough role to fill.”
Kent took only two wicket on the final day of four-day cricket at St Lawrence this summer, Matt Boyce (98) edged to slip off Martin van Jaarsveld to make it 204 for one soon after lunch then Josh Cobb (28) chipped a return catch to Tredwell at 259 for two.
But no one could remove Nixon who hit the first 150 of his career from 330 balls after six-and-a-half hours and he was still there at the close despite a rare spell of leg-spin from Key and championship bowling debuts from Alex Blake and Sam Northeast.
Photo by AR PIcs