It will be tough to get bet­ter, says North­east

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport Www.kentonline.co.uk/sport - By Alex Hoad

Skip­per Sam North­east says Kent have taken their game to new heights this sea­son but warned against com­pla­cency as they seek to make it a hat-trick of Cham­pi­onship wins to be­gin the sea­son.

For the sec­ond straight game, Kent pro­duced a dev­as­tat­ing sec­ond in­nings bowl­ing dis­play on their way to a 226-run drub­bing of Sus­sex at Hove on Mon­day, hav­ing earned a 334-run home win over Glouces­ter­shire in their Divi­sion 2 sea­son opener.

North­east him­self en­hanced his in­ter­na­tional claims with an un­beaten 173 on Sun­day to give Kent a huge lead and he said: “We’ve been play­ing good cricket.

“We played a lot of good cricket last year, too but we have gone up a notch and that’s pleas­ing.”

North­east claimed there was lit­tle room for im­prove­ment, adding: “You’re never go­ing to have a per­fect game, you just try to get as close as you can. The way we are play­ing at the minute, it’s go­ing to be tough to im­prove.

“Let’s make sure we’re not com­pla­cent go­ing for­ward, keep do­ing all the same things, keep the en­ergy high. Our train­ing has been good – there’s not much more I can ask of the guys at the mo­ment.

“There’s no doubt there are go­ing to be tougher pe­ri­ods go­ing for­ward where we will have to show char­ac­ter but at the mo­ment we are play­ing some good cricket and look­ing for­ward.

“Sus­sex are a good team and for us to put on a dis­play like that is en­cour­ag­ing. Con­fi­dence is high.”

North­east lent his voice to the cho­rus of praise for Dar­ren Stevens, whose 5-51 in the sec­ond in­nings steered Kent to a win­ning po­si­tion, a week af­ter his 6-22 had done the same at home to Glouces­ter­shire on the fi­nal day.

North­east said: “Dar­ren bowled an un­be­liev­able spell. He just keeps on do­ing it. He’s got fan­tas­tic abil­ity with the ball.

“He doesn’t let you off, there are hardly any bad balls. Peo­ple will prob­a­bly say he’s not the quick­est but he’s got un­be­liev­able skill.”

North­east hailed the im­pact of new head coach Matt Walker and in­terim as­sis­tant coach Ja­son Gille­spie for their work with Kent’s at­tack, claim­ing: “What Walks and Gille­spie have done with the bowlers es­pe­cially has been en­cour­ag­ing.”

He added: “We needed early wick­ets and did that. Af­ter the first half an hour with the new ball, we were re­lent­less – the boys put in an un­be­liev­able ef­fort.

“Our bowl­ing at­tack has got some good va­ri­ety. Claydon slams the wicket, the same with Coles, and then we have the left-arm va­ri­ety with Wayne Par­nell and the spin of James Tred­well. It’s a nice at­tack for me to call on.”

James Har­ris is in con­tention for a re­call against Der­byshire (Fri­day, 11am).

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