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Kent Cricket wicketkeeper Sam Billings was delighted by his batting form in the LV= County Championship Division 2 win over Surrey at Guildford

By Alex Hoad

Sam Billings admitted he was delighted to have put a tough period with the bat behind him to record his highest Championship score at Guildford this week.

The 23-year-old – in his first full year behind the Kent stumps – had scored only 66 runs in his last seven innings combined in LV= County Championship Division 2, since scoring 42 and 67 at Gloucestershire in May.

Kent's Sam Billings Picture Barry Goodwin

Kent's Sam Billings Picture: Barry Goodwin

The challenges of fitting seven NatWest T20 Blast games into less than a month, along with three Championship games, took its toll on the youngster, who admitted: “The schedule has been disjointed, what with the T20 and the Championship stuff. It’s been so hectic.

“It’s been a tough period and I have been struggling for runs from an individual point of view, so it was nice to get a few this week.”

Billings made 82 not out from 145 balls, cracking 13 fours after coming in with the side on
230-4, eventually steering them to maximum batting points and helping provide the visitors a slender first-innings lead. He added an undefeated 57 in the second innings as Kent won by 89 runs.

 “I’ve been trying to find a way through, though I never felt like I was that far away. I’ve carried on putting the hard work in and I knew things would turn around."

“It was all about getting in and being positive. It’s just how I play and that’s what happened this week.

“The target on Monday morning was to get up to 400 and get the final batting point.
“It was a bit of a shame I wasn’t able to stay there and reach a hundred but you’d take 82 any day of the week.”

One thing which has not abandoned him in recent weeks is his glovework, with 22 catches and a stumping in the same month-long spell.

Billings has kept to more than a dozen different bowlers so far this season but he said: “It’s all good experience.

“It’s different keeping to different bowlers – you don’t do the same thing for Darren Stevens that you might for Doug Bollinger for example but we work on it so I know what to expect.”

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