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Middlesex v Kent: Northeast previews LVCC trip to Uxbridge

Monday 7th September 2009

Kent“s cricketers will aim to move a step closer to the LV County Championship title when they play Middlesex, starting at Uxbridge tomorrow. With just three games to go, Kent lead the table by 26 points. With Joe Denly away on international duty, Sam Northeast (pictured) is getting an extended run in the side and is clearly relishing his spell with the first-team: “Things are going okay for me. Obviously the last two games didn“t go terribly well, for me or the Club, but I“m pretty happy with things right now and enjoying my opportunity.”

With three Championship matches to go, Northeast is hoping that Kent can finish with a flourish: “I“ve played at Uxbridge once before, it was a second team game. It“s a decent club wicket and Middlesex are always quite well followed at Uxbridge. I think we will go into this game with good confidence because we want to win and extend our lead at the top. Plus we lost the reverse game, at Canterbury, so we will want to fight back and gain the all important win. It“s been a busy schedule for everyone but we are getting towards the end of the season now and a win will improve our chances of gaining some silverware.”

Northeast is averaging 26 in first-class cricket this season. So how much of a jump in standard does he feel there is between second-team and first-team cricket? “I think there is a difference, especially when you come up against a quality team like we did at the weekend in Lancashire. They have some good players and you certainly notice it more against a strong first-team outfit. I guess you have to play the ball rather than the person but everything is a little quicker and the bowlers are much more consistent. You have to find some new ways of scoring runs because you don“t get too many loose balls to punish.”

And what about Kent“s chances of winning both the Championship and the NatWest Pro40? “Well, we are the favourites, because we are top of both leagues, but we are up against some very good sides. It will be difficult for us but if we can keep playing good cricket then we have a great chance. We“ve already won seven games in the Championship and had we beaten Derbyshire then we would be in an even better position. Hopefully we can continue our good form because we have the potential to win both competitions and it could be a real exciting end to the season. I think it“s pretty tiring on everyone, both physically and mentally, but we are paid to perform and all counties are in the same position. If we can put together a few more wins then we are in the box seat to win two trophies.”

All-rounder Azhar Mahmood comes into the squad in place of the rested Phil Edwards. Kent have named the following 12-man squad for tomorrow“s game in Uxbridge: Key (C), Northeast, Jones (W), van Jaarsveld, Stevens, Kemp, Mahmood, Tredwell, Blake, Cook, Khan, Ferley

Picture:Sarah Ansell