Willis delighted as Kent extend lead at the top of the LVCC

Friday 11th September 2009

Kent“s cricketers have moved to within touching distance of the LV County Championship title after an emphatic 10-wicket win over Middlesex at Uxbridge. The victory extends Kent“s lead at the top to 36 points with just two matches to go. Professional Cricket Manager, Simon Willis (pictured), was full of praise for his players after another sparkling victory: “Winning the toss was a big plus for us because it was important to get first crack of the wicket. The boys took full advantage and we were always in a good position after putting 650 plus on the board.”

So how pleased was Willis with the display of the batsman? “They did well. The top four all got good starts but it was Stevo (Darren Stevens) and Kempy (Justin Kemp) who really went on. Stevo equalled his personal best and Kempy batted beautifully too. I think Stevo was hoping to go on and beat his previous best, so he will be slightly disappointed to have only equalled it, but he batted very well and it moved us into a dominant position.”

And how hard was it, taking the 20 wickets to win the game? “It was difficult because it was a flat wicket. I think there were periods of the game where you knew you had chances of taking a wicket. We looked dangerous with the new ball but the spin bowlers played a crucial part. It became easier to face the seam bowlers as the pace came out of the wicket but everyone contributed and it was a great team win.”

The victory extends the lead to 36 points. So how many more points are needed for the league title? “We aren“t really thinking about that. Obviously we want to win the title but there is still a lot of work to do. All I will say is that we are where we wanted to be at this stage of the season. The weather can play a part, now we are in September, but it was pleasing to see some other results go in our favour. We are very well placed.”

Kent have won eight of their 14 Championship matches and Willis is pleased with the effort shown by all members of the team: “Everyone has contributed to the good position we find ourselves in. The manner in which we have won several games shows what a good team we are. There is great character running throughout the side and we are getting our rewards. It“s eight wins and that is great; although another one against Leicester would be nice!”

Kent turn their attentions to the NatWest Pro40 tomorrow when they play Warwickshire Bears in their penultimate game of the season. Kent top the table with just two limited overs matches to go but Willis doesn“t see the side as favourites: “We have a good chance but I think there are three or four teams still in contention. I know our guys will be fully focussed, after the loss up at Lancashire, and I hope we can get another win to cap a fine few days. Warwickshire are a good side and we“ve had numerous battles with them over the years. They won“t make it easy for us as they too are chasing the title.”

And what side will Kent field for the game? “We“ve got a 13-man squad; the 11 from last week, at Lancashire, plus James Hockley and Simon Cook. We just need to see how people are feeling in the morning and we will pick our side accordingly.”

Kent (from) Kemp (C), Hockley, Northeast, Blake, G Jones (W), Stevens, Mahmood, Goodman, Tredwell, Cook, Edwards, Coles, Ferley

Tickets are still available for the big game. After the morale boosting win over Middlesex, a bumper crowd is expected at the St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury. Please show your support and come along to the game. The action begins at 12.45pm.