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Kent batsman Walker is to be released by the club

Matt Walker will look for a new club for 2009
Matt Walker will look for a new club for 2009

The curtain is set to fall on Matthew Walker's 16-year playing career at Kent at the end of the month following news that the popular left-handed batsman has not been offered a new contract for 2009.

The decision to release the former King's Rochester starlet, made at last Thursday's cricket committee meeting of the county club, brings an end to Walker's innings of 183 first-class games for Kent in which he scored 9,768 runs at an average of 36.61 including 25 hundreds.

The Gravesend-born player made his first-class debut for the club in the spring of 1993 on Kent's pre-season tour of Zimbabwe and later that year went on to skipper England Under-19s.

In 1996 he posted 275 against Somerset in a county championship match at St Lawrence surpassing the record of Frank Woolley as the highest innings by a Kent player in Canterbury.

Commenting on the decision, Walker said: "I've thoroughly enjoyed a wonderful 16 years at Kent and have made some great friends, both on and off the field.

"I would like to thank my team-mates, both past and present, the supporters and everyone here at the club for making my time here so special.

"I am deeply saddened to be leaving the club that I have always wanted to play for, but now look forward to new challenges."

Though never hugely consistent, Walker's bubbly personality, lively fielding and enigmatic batting made him a crowd favourite wherever he played and culminated in him winning the county's player-of-the-season award in 2006 after scoring 1,419 first-class runs.

It is thought Walker has already received offers for next season from at least two other counties, including neighbouring Essex, but Walker, who turns 35 in January, will wrap up his benefit functions in Kent before deciding where his future lies.

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