Geraint Jones has his sights on a “straight shoot-out” with Sam Billings for the Kent gloves next season
Sam Billings making his Championship debut against Lancashire. Picture: Barry Goodwin.
Wicketkeeper Geraint Jones said he is proud of his place in Kent history after his run of 115 consecutive championship appearances came to an end and now has his sights on a “straight shoot-out” with Sam Billings for the gloves next season.
Jones, 37, began his run in the side against Hampshire on August 2, 2006, in a draw at Canterbury.
However, after a season which saw him average less than 24 with the bat in 14 appearances, he was replaced in the Kent side by 22-year-old Billings for the draw at Northants last week.
The former England keeper became the 10th Kent player in history to make 100 consecutive championship appearances – and the first for 60 years – when he faced Derbyshire at Canterbury last September but said this week: “All good things must come to an end.”
He added: “It is different this time than it was earlier in the season (when Billings replaced Jones in the t20 side).
“Form is behind the decision this time and I completely understand it – I just haven’t scored enough runs.
“I would have loved a couple more games this season to try and get a good score but respect the decision.
“I think 115 games is a decent crack at history. I’m proud of my record and also going back even further, that I’ve never missed a Kent game through injury.”
Jones added: “It won’t eat away at me, if anything it’s driven me forward and made me more focused.
“I’m looking forward to playing with Papua New Guinea in November and January and then coming back here ready for pre-season and a straight shoot-out.
“The information I have been given is that whoever performs best in pre-season will be given the nod.
“Hopefully, the level of cricket I’ve played and the experience I have will stand me in good stead but I hope the competition will bring the best out in both of us.”
Jones will join the traditional dressing-room gathering with players and staff following the end of this week’s Lancashire game.
Billings made just eight runs at Wantage Road but said: “I was proud to make my championship debut.
“I was disappointed I didn’t manage to score more runs but it’s great that I have another opportunity to hopefully show what I can do this week against a quality side like Lancashire.”
- Click here for more news from across the county