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Matt Walker says Kent will take lessons from defeat to Essex

By Josh Fordham

Head coach Matt Walker says his Kent team will learn from their heavy defeat against Essex in the final group match of the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Despite the 153-run loss, the Spitfires still progressed to the quarter-final stages of the competition as they had already qualified.

However, they did miss out on a chance to finish top of the group and get a home semi-final as Hampshire were beaten in their final game.

Alex Blake. Picture: Andy Jones.
Alex Blake. Picture: Andy Jones.

Walker said: “We were way off it today. Not sure why. Being the backend of a pretty tough schedule may have something to do with it and we didn’t reach our usual standard in any department.

“We were not up to our usual standard with the ball, in the field we were sloppy and then we got behind the run rate and never got anywhere near competing.

“We’ve played too well in the competition to dwell on that and we will learn from this and understand why we didn’t play well as we have done.

“It was disappointing we couldn’t put a win on the board to get a home tie but it is what it is. We just need to be better next time and it’s maybe a good thing to get it out of our system.”

Superb centuries from Dan Lawrence and Ravi Bopara fired Essex to 337-8 from their 50 overs after being put into bat by Kent.

Sean Dickson (51) and Alex Blake (41) were the on Spitfire batsman to get going in the run chase that ended with them being bowled out for 184.

Matt Coles also came back to haunt his former club smashing a six off his first ball at the crease and then claiming the wicket of Sam Billings with his first ball.

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Walker said: “Here nothing is safe normally, that’s why we chose to chase we know how hard it is to defend a score and we knew 300 would be about right.

“We let it slip a little bit after a good start and we got our lengths wrong consistently. Ravi and Dan played exceptionally well but we didn’t quite get it right.

“330 was always going to be a big ask, especially on this ground, they bowled exceptionally well up front and seemed to get a bit more out of the wicket than we did.”

It is the fourth time in the last five years Kent have made it through to the knockout stages of the competition.

After finishing third in the South group, the Spitfires will have to win the quarter-final and semi-final away from home to get to Lords.

Alex Blake and Darren Stevens. Picture: Andy Jones.
Alex Blake and Darren Stevens. Picture: Andy Jones.

Walker said: “Whoever we get is fine as you can’t affect that and we look forward to it. It’s exciting playing a Northern team as you don’t often play them.

“It’s always a challenge playing a Northern county and it will be good to play one of those sides.

“Knockout cricket is exciting as it’s all on the day and we know if we put in performances like we have in this competition then we stand a very good chance of progressing.

“Going away sometimes suits a team. Canterbury hasn’t always been our best place to play our One-Day cricket. Sometimes the wickets are on the slower side, going away there is less pressure in many ways.

“I never think home advantage has a significant factor in it, yes you get the support, but going away there’s more freedom in it.”

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