North­eaSt SayS hIS SIde muSt go out and be brave

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Hockey - By Alex Hoad

Skipper Sam North­east says Kent have no ex­cuses for fail­ure and called on his squad to prove they are good enough to win the ti­tle.

Kent be­gin their quest for Spec­savers County Cham­pi­onship pro­mo­tion with the visit of Glouces­ter­shire to Can­ter­bury on Fri­day (11am) with North­east set to re­turn to the side af­ter a ham­string strain.

De­spite in­sist­ing he has not ‘stewed over’ Kent’s fail­ure to go up last sea­son – de­spite fin­ish­ing sec­ond in Divi­sion 2, North­east claims the play­ers want to make their point by go­ing one bet­ter this sum­mer.

He said: “I want to win some­thing. We have made strides, there is no doubt about that – look at the Cham­pi­onship from the year be­fore to last year. If we can make some more strides, I think we’ll go close.

“We aren’t the fin­ished ar­ti­cle but we are get­ting closer. We gave younger play­ers the op­por­tu­nity and now we’re start­ing to see the re­wards.

“When you’re young you make mis­takes but now those ex­cuses are gone. These guys have played a lot of cricket now.

“Sides will fear us this year. We’re com­ing into a sea­son as op­ti­mistic as I have been and the guys are as well pre­pared as I’ve seen.

“Now it’s about go­ing out and do­ing it. We’ve got an op­por­tu­nity to go and win Divi­sion 2.”

North­east echoed his play­ers and head coach Matt Walker in claim­ing Kent don’t want to be ‘nearly men’ any more.

He said: “What is it, three or four quar­ter-fi­nals in the last few years? It’s great to be get­ting there, we must be do­ing some­thing right but it’s time for us to win.

“Now it’s about, in those big games, big play­ers stand­ing up to be counted. That’s the big chal­lenge for us now. We need to go out and be brave. No fear of fail­ure.

“We’re def­i­nitely good enough to go and win some­thing this year, that’s the mes­sage to guys – go out and play with free­dom and be brave in those big mo­ments.

“There’d be noth­ing bet­ter than to see us win Divi­sion 2 and a one-day tro­phy. Be­ing a Kent lad grow­ing up, I want to see suc­cess back at the Spit­fire Ground, St Lawrence.” He added: “When we had our four­day chat the guys said we don’t need to change a huge amount – we played some bril­liant cricket last year.

“There are lit­tle places where we can tin­ker and look to get bet­ter but we’re a good side. I can feel the con­fi­dence. “We want to be­come a side that is win­ning

and ag­gres­sive.”

‘I can feel the con­fi­dence. We want to be­come a side that is win­ning and ag­gres­sive’

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