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Kent coach Matt Walker on gritty draw against Durham

By Alex Hoad

Head coach Matt Walker hailed his side's resilience after they claimed potentially vital Championship points against the odds on Sunday evening.

Kent staved off the threat of a first defeat of the Specsavers Championship Division 2 season with a gritty effort, batting 106 overs to save their game against Durham at Canterbury.

The relegated side looked odds-on to pick up their first win of the campaign in the final session, with Kent down to their final two wickets with 17 overs remaining, having given up a first innings deficit of 212 runs.

Matt Walker. Picture Chris Davey

Matt Walker. Picture: Chris Davey

Skipper Sam Northeast was the main reason the game lasted as long as it did as he compiled gritty knocks of 109 not out in the first innings and then a stoic 72, eventually becoming the eighth man to fall, just over an hour before the scheduled close.

Somehow Matt Coles (30) and Yasir Shah (39 not out) negotiated a 61-ball spell before Mitch Claydon came in to join Yasir and see his side to the line against his former club with a run-a-ball 21.

Walker said: "We were naturally nervous because the odds were against us.

"Yasir played beautifully for us and manufactured things nicely to try and get as much as the strike as he could and Mitch did his bit too. 

"He's not renowned for his batting is our Mitch, but it was a great effort."

Walker added: "They bowled really well and kept the pressure up but this shows the fighting spirit we have in the camp now.

"We're showing this more often now, we've gritted our teeth and scrapped hard to get something out of the game.

"It's five extra points and who knows how much they'll be worth to us come the end of the season."  

The draw earned second-placed Kent eight points which kept them eight ahead of Worcestershire in third, while leaders Notts, who have played a game more, will seek to increase their 11-point lead with victory over Gloucestershire at Bristol on Monday.

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