Stewart: “It’s been great to see everyone winning us games”

Tuesday 13th September 2022

Men’s First Team

Metro Bank One Day Cup

Stewart: “It’s been great to see everyone winning us games”

Perhaps it was fitting that the Kent player most likely to win an Errol Flynn lookalike competition was the one who performed the most heart-stopping rescue act out of several during Kent’s march to the Royal London Cup Final.

In the penultimate group match with Yorkshire at Canterbury, the Spitfires needed a six off Matthew Revis’ last ball to avoid elimination. Luckily they had Grant Stewart on strike and his almost casual swipe sailed over the square leg boundary.

The man himself was almost diffident about his contribution.

“I don’t know if it was a pivotal moment.” Stewart told Kent Cricket’s website. “But it’s always nice when you get a bit of momentum. It was a great team performance by everyone to set the game up.

“I guess in that final over, you try and stay calm in those situations and they don’t always come off. I guess that was what I was trying to do, stay calm and back myself that I could hopefully get us over the line. Luckily it came off, because there have been plenty of occasions where it hasn’t.

“Like I said, it was a great team performance in that game, there were a lot of blokes who stood up, set the platform for us and really got us on a roll for the rest of the competition.”

The two dot balls that preceded the winning blow had tilted the odds firmly in Yorkshire’s favour. So was it as tense in the middle as it was for the 2000 watching?

“I don’t know, I might have been wearing one of these GPS monitors, so you’d have to check the GPS and see,” he said.

“The third last ball I tried to do something and make a play, rather than just stick to my strengths and play the ball in front of me. The second last one I hit it straight to fielder and then I guess I just backed myself on the last ball to get it done. It doesn’t always come off. Luckily this time it did.”

The subsequent win over Lancashire that booked Kent’s place in the quarter-finals was almost as tense, and also has a psychological value going into a final against opponents who have stellar reputations.

“We’ve played against Lancs a bit in the last couple of years, we’ve played against them in red ball cricket so we do know their players quite well, but the big thing for us is we really try to focus on ourselves rather than the other team sometimes,” Stewart said.

“You can get a bit overawed and forget about what you’re doing so that’s been a really emphasis for us in this competition: trying to stay calm in any situation and I guess it’s shown in three of the last four games where it’s gone to the wire and all different people have been stepping up.”

Stewart believes the fact that Kent haven’t relied on one or two players has been crucial.

“It’s been great to see everyone, not just certain individuals winning us games,” he said. “Everyone’s had match-winning contributions throughout the tournament which has been great to see. It’s a good attribute of a match winning team.”

Stewart also believes the team’s recent experiences in finals will help. “Last year was a bit of a different experience, we had a four-day game leading into finals day and quite a few of us played in that, so the prep will be different.

“We were on the go a bit more and the body was a bit weary. On Finals Day, although you only play two games, it’s quite a draining day, but a lot of the boys will take things from last year so it’ll put us in good stead for this year and there are three or four players who played in the Royal London Cup final in 2018 so we’ll draw on that.”

By Fred Atkins

Show your support for the Kent Spitfires ahead of the 2022 Royal London Cup Final by purchasing your commemorative merchandise now.

Special commemorative Castore Sportswear shirts displaying the fixture & date of the final, which will also appear on the players’ shirts on 17 September, are available to purchase now with no further additional charge to any adult or junior Kent Spitfires Royal London Cup shirt: £50 for adult sizes & £45 for juniors.

Buy RLC Final adult shirt now

The Club is also delighted to offer any name or number printing for these special commemorative shirts for £10 additional cost. To buy, please phone Barrie directly in the shop on the number listed below.

Buy RLC Final junior shirt now

Commemorative caps are also available in-store or online at the Kent Cricket Shop, also including the date & venue of this year’s 50-over final, at £20.

Buy RLC Final cap now

All valid Kent Members receive a 10% discount on all merchandise at the Kent Cricket Shop – buy online now or phone Barrie directly on 01227 473 612.

The deadline for all orders to guarantee delivery before matchday is Friday 9 September.

The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence will once again host a full England Women’s One-Day International (WODI) match in 2022, with a Royal London WODI against India under the lights in Canterbury on Wednesday, 21 September.

Buy tickets now