Ford: We ran out of gas

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport - by Mark Pen­nell

KENT’S di­rec­tor of cricket Gra­ham Ford re­turned home to South Africa on Mon­day hav­ing seen his side miss out on three lim­ited overs ti­tles and suf­fer cham­pi­onship rel­e­ga­tion.

The irony for Ford is that his side were one game away from winning each of the three lim­ited overs ti­tles and, had they won their last two cham­pi­onship matches, chances are they might have lifted the LV Cham­pi­onship ti­tle rather than Durham.

Looking back over the 2008 cam­paign Ford be­lieves that chal­leng­ing for all four com­pe­ti­tions with such a small squad even­tu­ally took its toll and cost Kent the chance of stay­ing in the top-flight for a ninth suc­ces­sive sea­son.

Af­ter Kent’s in­nings de­feat to Durham – a re­sult which gave their op­po­nents the ti­tle – Ford said: “There’s no ques­tion that we ran out of gas.

“I looked at the aver­ages of the var­i­ous coun­ties this week and when you look at the long list of play­ers they have fielded all sum­mer com­pared to our 15 at Kent it cer­tainly made me re­alise that most other clubs have ad­di­tional man power.

“That isn’t go­ing to change for 2009, we have to ac­cept that and we must also ac­cept that maybe com­pe­ti­tion on all fronts, as we have this sum­mer, take its toll.”

Ford added: “The dis­ap­point­ments of not quite get­ting across the line to win the three one-day com­pe­ti­tions took its toll too, be­cause winning tro­phies can be quite en­er­gis­ing and had we man­aged to win one com­pe­ti­tion it might have pro­vided the en­ergy boost we needed to go on for the rest of the sea­son.”

And in re­view­ing the sea­son as a whole, Ford added: “It’s a tough day for us be­cause when you look back at the sea­son as a whole you will re­call some mag­nif­i­cent per­for­mances, we were so close to get­ting sil­ver­ware but un­for­tu­nately we have to suf­fer this dis­ap­point­ing end.

“I re­ally feel sorry for the boys be­cause they have put in a mag­nif­i­cent ef­fort this sea­son. The things I can’t fault the Kent play­ers on are their ef­fort and com­mit­ment.

“There’s no doubt that some of the play­ers need to look at their per­for­mances and a lot of hard work is needed be­fore next sea­son as some of the guys weren’t at their best right through the sea­son.

“We’ve had a bit of a meet­ing, will take a lit­tle time to re­flect then we need to get stuck in to the task of set­ting mat­ters right for next sum­mer.

“Some­times dis­ap­point­ment is a big cat­a­lyst for get­ting things mov­ing for­ward again so let’s hope that that’s the case here at Kent.”

Mean­while, Ford has con­firmed he will be stay­ing with the club next sea­son, de­spite be­ing linked with the va­cant New Zealand job.

He ex­plained “New Zealand have ap­proached me, we did have a dis­cus­sion, but cer­tainly noth­ing fur­ther than that.

“I don’t want to run away when things haven’t been at their best.

“There’s a lot of re­solve, a lot of determination within the dress­ing room.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic group of guys to work with and I know they’ll be giv­ing 120 per cent to get back into the first divi­sion.”

Ryan McLaren showed some re­sis­tance against Durham, fin­ish­ing un­beaten on 65 in the sec­ond in­nings

Pic­tures: Barry Good­win

The end is in sight for Kent as Rob­bie Joseph trudges back to the pavil­ion

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