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Assistant coach Matt Walker says Kent cricket sacrificed points at Derbyshire in a bid to secure LV= County Championship Division 2 win

By Alex Hoad

Kent ‘didn’t want to die wondering’ as they battled for an unlikely win at Derby, says assistant coach Matt Walker.

In a game decimated by rain, less than five sessions were possible, though those did see Kent skittle their hosts for 118 and then amass a first-innings lead of 117 before declaring, though the decision failed to set-up a grandstand finish, as Derbyshire batted out the final afternoon without loss.

Doug Bollinger and Darren Stevens claimed five wickets apiece as the hosts were dismissed in just 49 overs on the afternoon of day two, while Brendan Nash rattled a rapid unbeaten 95 as Kent reached 235-6dec on the final afternoon.

Walker said: “We played outstandingly in the two days cricket. We couldn’t ask for more from the lads. It would have been interesting to see how the game panned out over four days, but it’s all ifs, buts and maybes now. You can’t fight the weather and you’ve got to take it on the chin.”

He added: “One positive is that all the boys did exactly what we asked them to do. The signs are really good. If we keep plugging away with those skill levels we’ll get the rewards.
“The first two games of the season didn’t go to plan but how we’ve come back in the last two games has been excellent.”

One talking point from the draw - which earned Kent nine points in LV= County Championship Division 2 - was the timing of their declaration, with Brendan Nash five short of a second consecutive century, and his side 15 short of another batting bonus point.

Walker explained: “We set our stall out for a minimum of 50 overs to bowl them out. We wanted to give ourselves enough chance to bowl them out.

Matt Walker Picture: Barry Goodwin
Matt Walker Picture: Barry Goodwin

"Derby were quite keen to set up a game, but we blew them away and, to almost bring them into the game... we thought that'’s not how we want to go about it.

"We wanted it in our own hands, to be in a position to try and do it the right way.

“As it turned out we batted an extra over to try and get Nashy more of a chance of getting his hundred, but as it was he was he couldn’t fulfil that.

“In the end another three or four overs of him trying to get there would have eaten into our chances of bowling the side out.”

He added: “Nashy knew the form. It would have been nice to get a hundred but he understood, he saw the bigger picture, we were there trying to win a game - he knew that before the innings started so there were no issues there.

“In terms of batting points, we were trying to win and we were prepared to sacrifice a couple of bonus points to do it.

“We could have batted all day and maybe got all our batting points but we wanted to win the game and we thought there was an opportunity there. As it was it didn’t happen, but we didn’t die wondering, that’s how we want to play our cricket, be positive and try and give ourself a chance to win.

“I think we did the right thing, showed good intent and sent the right message to the country that we want to win games and not settle for draws.”

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