Published: 06:00, 01 July 2018
| Updated: 08:07, 02 July 2018
Sam Billings says Kent can be proud of their achievements in the Royal London One-Day Cup this year despite losing in the final.
Spitfires were beaten by 61 runs against Hampshire at Lord’s on Saturday making it eight consecutive final defeats at the home of cricket.
It is a vast improvement on how the club fared in 2017 as they won just once in the group stages.
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Captain Billings said: “There’s huge disappointment but credit to Hampshire. They played very well on the day but I’m very proud of how we’ve gone about it in this tournament.
“The way the guys have been in terms of the dressing room and everything they’ve put into this tournament is a huge credit to them and the club.
“Last year we were bottom of the group so things are definitely on the up and looking good looking forward.”
Billings won the toss and chose to put Hampshire into bat and they went on to post 330 after a magnificent 125 by Rilee Rossouw.
Former Kent skipper Sam Northeast also made 75 not out but was booed to the crease by a section of Spitfire supporters.
Billings said: “We’ve chased very well in this tournament and we’ve played very well. We weren’t quite at it with the bat but full credit to them they bowled well and adapted to the conditions slightly better.
“The effort to keep them to 330 was fantastic. It was slightly above par but not too far.
“That’s not really cricket is it, to use a cliche (the booing of Northeast). Sam is a classy player and showed that today.
“Whenever a player leaves a club of course there is going to be bitterness but I don’t think that’s fair at all to be blunt.”
A record final run chase would be need for Kent to lift the Royal London One-Day Cup but it proved too much as they were all out for 269.
Bell-Drummond (86) and Billings (75) top scored but the run outs of Heino Kuhn, Alex Blake, Calum Haggett and Harry Podmore proved costly.
Billings added: “Generally you look at one of your top four or five to get 100 and then slightly big moments didn’t go our way. Daniel’s chop on was one of those things and then the direct hit of Alex Blake from the boundary, so small margins again.
“When him (Blake) and myself at the crease we always feel we’ve got a chance regardless of what the score is. Unfortunately we kept on losing wickets and that is a run chase basically. If you keep losing wickets it’s very tough to get a score.
“Blakey said in the dressing room then that he still would have gone for two and I would have backed him to.
“A direct hit from the boundary you can’t really do much about especially when you are chasing 10 or 11 an over and you need to take calculated risks.
“Towards the end, certainly with Calum (Haggett) and Harry (Podmore), it was a matter of trying to get me on strike.
“When you need 12 or 13 an over you need the guy on 60 or 70 not out to try and get to a hundred. That was our only chance of getting a win. That’s cricket and these things happen.”