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Kent captain Sam Northeast keen to showcase Championship promotion credentials when they visit rivals

By Alex Hoad

Sam Northeast hopes Kent’s enforced break from action won’t hinder his side’s chances as they prepare for potentially their two biggest games of the season.

The relief of Kent’s dramatic draw against Durham at Canterbury on Sunday – which kept their unbeaten record in Specsavers County Championship Division 2 – is gradually ebbing away and Northeast’s side are not back in action until they play at New Road, Worcester, on Monday (11am).

The corresponding fixture last year was washed-out without a ball being bowled and led to protests from Kent to the ECB that they had been denied the chance of valuable points in a promotion push which ultimately fell just short.

Sam Northeast. Picture: Ady Kerry

Northeast denied Kent were still after revenge against a side who sit a place below them in third in the table.

He said: “We’ve moved on. It’s in the past. We managed to beat them at home last season which was nice and hopefully we can do it again.

“We had time off (nearly 10 days) after our previous match at Tunbridge Wells and we were not at our best when we got back against Durham.

“Maybe the break didn’t help us. It helped a few of us recharge our batteries but maybe we lost some momentum. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen again.”

A week after Worcester, Kent travel to leaders Notts for their first day-night championship game and Northeast said: “They are two big games. I’m not sure about the biggest of the season, I think we’ll only know that at the end of the year.

“If we could pick up a win and at least a draw then it would separate us from the chasing pack a little but whatever happens, there is still a lot of cricket left to play.”

Kent’s unbeaten run was extended to six matches by a determined rearguard from Matt Coles, Yasir Shah and Mitch Claydon, with Northeast himself the eighth-man to go, nearly 20 overs short of saving the game against Durham.

He said: “I was frustrated because I wanted to be the person there at the end and after I went off I was not expecting it to be honest but they showed great character.

“Being unbeaten is a nice to have on your record and it’s nice to see the pride in the team at keeping that run going.

“It’s one thing to have it in the dressing room but it’s nice for people outside the group to see that things are different – we are a decent side and this is not the same old Kent.

“In previous years we might well have lost the game. We have learned a lot in the last couple of years and are slowly reaping the rewards.

“I know it was a draw but it felt a bit like a win. We were second best for a lot of that game. Everyone is focused on the prize (promotion) and those points could end up being important.”

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