Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kent Cricket - By Alex Hoad

De­spite hav­ing surgery and fac­ing a lengthy spell on the side­lines, Kent keeper Adam Rouse knows last week’s rain-hit draw at Glam­or­gan is a game he will al­ways re­mem­ber.

After a late call-up to the team when Sam Billings hurt a thumb in train­ing last Satur­day, Rouse shrugged off a bro­ken and dis­lo­cated fin­ger to hit a ca­reer-best 65 with the bat in the Spec­savers County Cham­pi­onship Di­vi­sion 2 clash at Sophia Gar­dens.

Rouse, who turns 24 to­mor­row (Thurs­day), is set to be out un­til Au­gust after he was in­jured tak­ing a Mitch Clay­don de­liv­ery be­hind the stumps on day two – al­though he kept for the re­main­der of the day’s ac­tion and then took his place in the bat­ting line-up to en­sure Kent avoided the fol­low-on. The Zim­babwe-born glove­man – who signed a con­tract this sea­son after im­press­ing for the 2nds – re­vealed how his in­jury oc­curred: “The ball be­fore from Mitch had come through high but this one dipped and I tried to re­verse cup it as I took it low and it went straight onto my lit­tle fin­ger.

“I knew straight away, I’ve had it be­fore and you can tell be­cause the fin­ger goes numb and warm. I took my glove off and my lit­tle fin­ger was point­ing sideways. “Physio Dan Ge­orge came on and popped it back in – from then it was just a case of hav­ing some painkillers and get­ting on with it. Luck­ily, there were only 10 or 15 overs left be­fore the rain came down.”

X-rays after stumps con­firmed a frac­ture and dis­lo­ca­tion and that night Rouse and Ge­orge fash­ioned a ther­mo­plas­tic mould to pro­tect the fin­ger.

He said: “We were try­ing to look after it when I was keep­ing but when it came to bat­ting, we just de­cided to leave it as it was – let it be free.”

Rouse joined Sean Dick­son with Kent reeling on 85-5 but scored 65 from 113 balls over two spells, in­clud­ing 13 fours, to help his side keep the first in­nings deficit to two fig­ures.

The knock came al­most two years to the week since Rouse made his ca­reer- best 49 on his First Class de­but for Glouces­ter­shire as they lost at home to Es­sex.

He said: “This game was def­i­nitely one to re­mem­ber for many rea­sons.

“The fin­ger was not too bad at the start but I tried a cut shot off the spin­ner and I felt that.

“I couldn’t bend my fin­ger after that and al­though I was re­luc­tant, I went off. Sean and I were play­ing nicely and I had just got go­ing so I didn’t want to.

“We went off, though and made a plan. I ended up strap­ping it up and then cut­ting a hole in my glove so the fin­ger could poke through but it got me through.”

Rouse spent Tues­day night in A&E await­ing an­other X-ray and did not keep in the sec­ond in­nings with Tom Latham and then for­mer Sus­sex man Cal­lum Jack­son tak­ing over the gloves.

Rouse only found out there was a chance he was go­ing to fea­ture after play­ing for Winch­ester-based St Cross Sy­mon­di­ans, top scor­ing with 48 in their 34-run home de­feat to Bur­ridge in the South­ern Pre­mier League.

He said: “When I got off the field I had a call say­ing Sam had been hit on the thumb in train­ing and was 50-50 and could I head up that night as cover.

“He had a fit­ness test on the Sun­day morn­ing but I just pre­pared as if I was play­ing, as I al­ways do and was just pleased to be able to play.”

Rouse hadn’t fea­tured since Billings re­turned from the IPL in May but added: “I knew the sit­u­a­tion when I came, I knew how it was go­ing to pan out when Sam came back.

“I never would have thought it would go as well as it had. I never had huge goals, I just wanted to learn about my game and keep pro­gress­ing but to be lead­ing dis­missal taker was un­be­liev­able.

“I felt like I spent a lot of time in the mid­dle and played my part ear­lier, al­though the scores didn’t nec­es­sar­ily come.

“Now I’ve got the 50, hope­fully I’ll get an­other chance and if pos­si­ble I’d like to get a hun­dred by the end of the sea­son.”

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