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Kent first-class debutant Jaydn Denly credits uncle Joe Denly’s calm presence after pair’s half-century partnership in County Championship Division 1 draw with Essex

Jaydn Denly believes batting with Uncle Joe at the other end helped ease him into a match-saving innings on his Kent debut.

Fresh from a duck in the first innings, the 18-year-old was Kent’s saviour on a tense final day at Chelmsford on Monday.

Jaydn Denly saved Kent from defeat at Chelmsford. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Jaydn Denly saved Kent from defeat at Chelmsford. Picture: Barry Goodwin

He batted for nearly two hours and faced 128 balls on his way to an unbeaten 41 as Kent escaped with a draw.

“It was nice batting with Joe,” explained Jaydn. “I’ve never really batted with him before, so that was great.

“A nice 50-run partnership, it definitely took out some overs which was what we needed. I can’t remember what he said to me now. He was probably just telling me to stay focused, focus on the next ball and keep on playing the way I was playing.

“He’s always good, he’s calm at the crease as well and it’s good to have someone who’s quite relaxed at the other end and can help you along the way.”

The youngster admitted there was plenty of nerves when he strode out to the crease, with Kent perilously placed on 65-5 while also trying to avoid a pair on his first-class debut.

“You’re always thinking get that first run and get off (the duck),” he said. “I edged one and Joe ran, it’s always a relief when you get one, especially if you’ve had a duck in the first innings.

“My heart was beating fast when I came out, it always does when I go out to bat, but it calmed down after the first ball.

“It was a great experience. I’ve never faced world-class spinners in Simon Harmer, and obviously Matt Critchley as well who took a five-fer in the first innings.

“It was tough, but a good experience. I just focused on the next ball and wasn’t listening to what was going on around me. As long as I was playing the ball, playing the line, I was all right.”

Father Sam watched his son’s debut in person on Friday but had to view the rest of the game on the live stream.

“My dad hasn’t made it here for the last three days, but I know he will have been watching it on the stream with my grandad, so that’s all good,” added Jaydn.

“It has been really surreal. I wasn’t really expecting it [my debut] to come this week. I was expecting to stay in the twos. But it’s always great to make your debut as early as possible and hopefully I can keep pushing the first team.

“I’ll wait to see what happens (against Surrey on Friday). I’ll train hard and hopefully get selected and if not then I hope the boys still come through.”

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