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Breaking sports news from Gillingham, Charlton Athletic, Kent Cricket and more in Kent Sportsday on Thursday, April 3

By Alex Hoad

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It's been another busy day of Kent sport and even though Sportsday is drawing to a close, there will be more tomorrow. Join me again from 9am for your full Gillingham round-up, weekend previews and reaction to the Thursday night games.

Check out my twitter @AlexHoadKOL for more updates from the Kent Cricket game this evening.

Enjoy your evening, avoid the smog and I'll see you again tomorrow for another Sportsday.


We heard earlier about one Ebbsfleet player's season being ended by injury, but Yado Mambo's not alone.

Fan favourite Michael West has been ruled out for up to six months with serious knee ligament damage and he went under the knife on Wednesday. Here's a post-op update from the man himself... hope you can decipher the medical terminology.

Wish Michael well with his recovery and look forward to seeing him fit and raring to go in 2014/15.


Essex are turning up the heat at Chelmsford where it is now 217-2 from 57 overs.

Nick Browne is on 39* and Greg Smith has 45*. 33 overs remain on the first of two days of red-ball friendly cricket.


Can imagine one interested spectator at Herne Bay tonight will be Faversham manager Ray Turner, whose Lilywhites side visit the Sussex side on Saturday.

Town are not quite out of the play-off race just yet, but a 10-point gap with six games to play means a win down by the airport is an absolute must.

See what Turner has to say about the clash here.


A wicket. From a catch. Behind the stumps. To be fair though, Sam Billings did have a bit of help from his wicket-keeping gloves. Tom Westley departs for 71 in the first over of a new spell from Mitch Claydon, who, in all honesty, is having a very good first week of pre-season.

153-2 with Nick Browne still there on 22 not out.


Herne Bay are also in action tonight and their visit of Crawley Down Gatwick can only really be accurately described as a whopper.

Bay have slipped to sixth-bottom, three places and five points above the dreaded dotted line of woe, while Down seem to have hit rock-bottom after a frankly alarming slide down the table and are now second-bottom.

Bay will be missing big defender Calum McGeehan, as assistant boss Gavin Theze explains here.


Lots of talk at the AGM last night about dropped catches. As we know, taking catches wins matches, and last season Kent's didn't really do either particularly well.

Sam Northeast has just put a chance down in the slips at Chelmsford off the bowling of Adam Ball, Nick Browne escaping, as the scoreboard ticks onto 125-1.

Head coach Jimmy Adams was asked directly about it by supporters at the AGM last night and admitted it was ‘an issue’ and something highlighted in the club’s own internal review after the 2013 season.

He added: “We share the concerns, you don’t want bowlers to give their all and not get the support they deserve. It is something we have given special attention to in pre-season and will continue to do so.”


Remember I told you that tonight's football games are important (12.15)? Well here's Whitstable Town assistant boss Steve Nolan to confirm just how important it is to his side, despite them having won two on the spin. Seems everyone is picking up form in the Division 1 South basement.

Click here to see what Nolan had to say.


Don't know about you, but I need a slice of orange and a builders tea.

Let me bring you up to date with a busy morning's activity though.... LOTS of Kent Cricket news, not least this story about Darren Stevens' emotional return to Kent action, while we've also heard from his teammate Mitch Claydon, Skipper Rob Key and head coach Jimmy Adams.

We've also looked in on Dartford and Tony Burman's bid to pull off the great escape from the drop here and heard Ebbsfleet boss Steve Brown's take on the road to recovery for former Addicks defender Yado Mambo.

Plenty more to come this afternoon, with updates to come from Chelmsford and some football previews on the menu, so keep hitting refresh.


Kent have made a breakthrough just before lunch at Chelmsford.

Jaik Mickelburgh departs for 51 after putting on 103 for the opening wicket with Tom Westley (50*) and it's 108-1 at lunch.

Robbie Joseph in action for Kent against Durham. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Robbie Joseph in action for Kent against Durham. Picture: Barry Goodwin


As mentioned earlier, trialist Robbie Joseph is in the Kent squad for the first Battle of the Bridge of 2014.

Head coach Jimmy Adams explained: “Robbie is a known quality here and basically is desperate for an opportunity in the game. He’s turned up with a really good attitude, bowled well and we’re keen to see where this relationship can go.

“A Robbie Joseph bowling well will get wickets, it’s as simple as that. I think it’s a win-win situation. On one hand you have a young man who’s desperate to play professional cricket and on other hand have a club that will always be looking for potential match-winning talent.”

So maybe the 2011 season wasn't the last we've seen of the Antigua-born paceman, now 32 (wow, time flies), in Kent colours.

12:15 - FOOTBALL

Thursday night is football night, and not just if you're a Spurs fan. Couple of games to look out for tonight in the county, including Whitstable hosting promotion-chasing Leatherhead in Ryman League Division 1 South and Herne Bay welcoming fellow strugglers Crawley Down Gatwick to Winch's Field.

Both neighbours could do with three points to keep them away from trouble at the wrong-end of the table.

Chatham Town are also in action in Division 1 North, on the road at Heybridge Swifts.


Kent squad for today, and before you ask, I believe they can all be used, just not all at the same time... is Northeast, Key, Bell-Drummond, Nash, Stevens, Harmison, Cowdrey, Jones, Billings, Griffiths, Claydon, Hunn, Ball, Joseph, Qayyum.

Joseph is the Robbie Joseph while Imran Qayyum is a spinner who impressed with the 2nds late last year after coming highly recommended by high performance director Simon Willis.


About an hour into the day's play at Chelmsford - the start time was brought forward by 15 minutes - and Essex are 48/0 from 15 overs.

11:20 - HOCKEY

It might feel like the summer has begun already, but it actually has for most of our hockey clubs.

Canterbury's men missed out on the play-offs in the national Premier Division by a single place, but skipper Michael Farrer has targeted some additions this close season which will hopefully see them return to the top-four next season.

Click here for his views.

11:00 - FOOTBALL

Ebbsfleet defender Yado Mambo has had a tough year and his latest blow is being ruled out until the end of the season.

The former Charlton man suffered a serious knee injury last summer and only arrived at Stonebridge Road at the start of 2014 after months on the sidelines.

Click here to read what Fleet boss Steve Brown had to say about Mambo's latest set-back and plans for his recovery.

Yado Mambo Picture: Carl Gac
Yado Mambo Picture: Carl Gac


Remember when you were young and played a big of sport. There was maybe this other guy who joined the team around the same time as you, good laugh, made friends easily.

Anyway you drift apart, you go and play for other teams in other places, you grow up. Well imagine if some 13 or 14 years later you were reunited with your old teammate on a new team on the other side of the world. Weird eh?

Well that's exactly what has happened to Mitch Claydon and Doug 'The Rug' Bollinger.

Here big Mitch telling me all about their past and predicting success for Kent's new overseas signing.


What is is about modern society? People are never satisfied with what they have. They always want to look ahead to something else, something they hope will be better. Why can't people stop for a minute and enjoy and appreciate what they have. Stop and smell the roses people... life's for the living.

10:30 - RUGBY

Yes I know it's pretty much a summer's day out there, smog notwithstanding, and I've been chatting cricket all morning, but the rugby season is still going and is nearing a dramatic climax.

Canterbury produced a superb display to topple National 2 South leaders Hartpury on Saturday, but head coach Andy Pratt knows their finishing position this season, and their associated chances of the title, promotion, or the unspoken alternative, pretty much all depend on the outcome of Saturday's game against third-placed Ampthill.

Here's what he had to say.

10:15 - FOOTBALL

Three home games, two points, no goals. Doesn't make pretty reading on the form table, particularly not if you're trying to claim an all-important play-off place in Skrill South.

However Dover Athletic assistant boss Jake Leberl insists it's not all doom and gloom at Crabble these days and the chase for the top-five remains wide open.

Click here to see what he had to say.


Just an hour until the start of Kent's two-day game at Essex.

Jimmy Adams has taken 14 players over the Bridge, braving the smog of doom, and they will spend 90 overs in the field today while our cowardly neighbours to the north cower in their changing room.

Among those in the party is Robbie Joseph, back at Kent on trial and doing his best to impress this week. Stick around here for Adams' views on the return of Ro-Jo later.

Among those not involved today are all-rounder Calum Haggett and Mark Davies who are sidelined by a side strain and shoulder problem respectively. Might not see them back before the Worcester game either.

09:45 - FOOTBALL

Ebbsfleet's promotion quest in Skrill South hands them a tough battle with stubborn Staines on Saturday.

Any Fleet player not giving their all will be sure to end up in hot water with boss Steve Brown. He'll have his pre-match message ground in to his troops before they hit the field.

I'm sure if they do fall short against a Town team that is six games unbeaten and closing on a play-off place themselves then the reasons why will all come out in the wash eventually.

Sorry. Here's the big game preview.


It's the morning after the night before for Kent members. Bet there are a few sore heads today. Not because anyone was drinking of course, more the sheer amount of facts, figures, bar graphs and pie-charts put before them at the club AGM last night.

For those of you not able to make it, fear not, I was your eyes and ears in the JM Recruitment Harris Room. Here's a round-up of what went on.

08:55 - FOOTBALL

They say belief is the biggest word in football. If you haven't got it, you haven't got a chance of pulling off the Great Escape.

Dartford defender Tyrone Sterling has it, as he tells Steve here. Do you, Darts fans? Let us know via twitter, Facebook or the comments section below.

08:50 - FOOTBALL

Wow, doesn't time fly? Seems just five minutes since Dartford were rising through the Ryman Leagues while Lincoln City were battling for promotion to League 1.

I'm sure neither side would have envisaged the magnitude of Saturday's game between the two sides in the wildest dreams two or three years ago... though it's probably only my colleague Steve Tervet who has wildest dreams involving Dartford.

It really is crunch time for the Darts, six games to save their season, starting at Sincil Bank on Saturday. Here's what boss Tony Burman had to say to Steve T.


It's not just Stevens who is glad to see his name in the Kent squad for the 2014 season, which gets underway a week on Sunday at Worcester.

Returning captain Rob Key told me he believes Stevens is one of few players on the face of planet earth who is capable of playing the role he does for Kent.

Click here for the story.


Where would Kent be without Darren Stevens? That question has been uttered a lot over the 10 years he has spent at the club, but it was only this past winter that people actually began to think about the reality of the answer.

His embroilment in match-fixing allegations in Bangladesh - specifically being charged with failing to report a corrupt approach - led to fears of a global ban of up to five years for the all-rounder, whose work with bat and ball in the last decade has won Kent plenty of games almost single-handedly.

The prospect of a season without him was privately a real fear for everyone, not least Stevens himself, but as he tells me here, his acquittal in February means he is now looking forward to an emotional return to action.

Darren Stevens returns to pre-season training with Kent. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Darren Stevens returns to pre-season training with Kent. Picture: Barry Goodwin

08:00 - KICK-OFF

Good morning and welcome to a brand new sportsday. Promises to be a packed one today with plenty of build-up to the weekend's sporting action on the way, reaction from mid-week managers plus news about Thursday night football.

Saharan dust clouds and European factory guff might well be scary enough to keep children and asthmatics inside today, but professional cricketers are a notoriously tough bunch and Kent will continue their pre-season preparations with the start of a two-day red-ball game at Essex this morning.

We'll keep you up to date with their fortunes in the eye of the smog storm, and over the next couple of hours I'll bring you news from Rob Key and Darren Stevens, two players very pleased to be back doing their old job again this summer.

So keep a tab open for us through the day, or if you do venture out the door, take us out and about with you on a mobile device, just be sure to hit refresh every once in a while to make sure you don't miss out on any breaking sports news.

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