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Kent coach Matt Walker says the emergence of wicketkeeper Sam Billings is a big plus for the county

By Alex Hoad

Kent won’t allow their massive 290-run defeat at Gloucestershire to derail their promotion ambitions this season, assistant coach Matt Walker has insisted.

Sam Billings Picture: Barry Goodwin

Two batting collapses and some blistering batting from their previously winless hosts in Bristol this week left Kent facing the prospect of an LV= County Championship hammering by more than 500 runs at one stage on Tuesday.

However, a maiden Championship half-century of 67 from Sam Billings and Ben Harmison’s sixth First Class century staved off the threat of ‘bettering’ their worst ever margin of defeat in a fourth innings – a 419-run reverse at Somerset in 1937.

Walker admitted: “It’s been a learning experience. It’s a shame because the last two games we’ve been excellent.

“These things can happen but there are enough positives to take out of this game that we can be confident of future success this year.

“Sam has done well. He’s improving every single day. Every time you see him in the nets you see a better version than the previous day and he’s a more confident and better player every time he takes the field.

“You can’t expect the world straight away with young players, you hope they improve and develop but Sam is developing at a rapid rate.”

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