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Kent Spitfires aim for home advantage in Royal London One-Day Cup by beating Essex on Wednesday

By Matthew Panting

Kent coach Matt Walker wants his team to respond to a different challenge and book home advantage in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Spitfires head to Essex on Wednesday afternoon knowing victory will secure them a home quarter-final berth, and possibly a home semi-final if leaders Hampshire slip up.

Walker finished his playing career at Essex before joining their coaching staff and believes that Chelmsford will suit his new-look Kent team.

Kent's Calum Haggett catches Gloucestershire's Chris Dent on Sunday. Picture: Keith Gillard
Kent's Calum Haggett catches Gloucestershire's Chris Dent on Sunday. Picture: Keith Gillard

"We enjoy playing at Chelmsford, it's a good ground for us," said Walker. "It suits our team and our strikers but they're a good side as are all the teams in this division.

"They're doing well and are a good side, a dangerous one-day side.

"Essex will be a different challenge. They will come at us hard like they do at the front with Wheater and Chopra, they've both had good seasons in this format.

"Then the dangerous players keep coming, with Westley, Bopara and Zaidi all real threats. They've got match winners throughout their team but so have we.

"We will give them the respect they deserve but not too much and hopefully we can have success at Chelmsford like we did last year.

"We've had some different challenges in the last few games and that's quite exciting, the way we've won our games.

"It was a ridiculous nail-biter at Hampshire where the game had gone, the way we set it up against Glamorgan, Surrey was a different way by piling on the runs and then on Sunday we had to chase over 300. Good wicket it may be, but to chase over 300 is going to be a challenge.

"We've tested ourselves and had challenges thrown at us and we've responded really well which is an encouraging sign."

Kent are potentially only a couple of games away from a Lord's final at the end of this month - but Walker is refusing to look too far ahead.

"It's a great thing to do in your career to play at Lord's in a final," added Walker. "I had the great honour to do it once, (although) the outcome wasn't favourable.

"But everything gets a bit lost with T20 and the desire to get to finals day which is a big showcase of the year.

"A Lord's final is very special. We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. It would be great for this group to experience that but we're not talking about that, we're talking about Essex and then we'll see what happens."

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