Walker plea to bats­men

LYE’S TAR­GET TO TAKE UNITED TO THE PLAY-OFFS

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

Spit­fires coach Matt Walker says his bats­men need to take more in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­bil­ity in the NatWest T20 Blast South Group clash against Mid­dle­sex. Walker backed his stars to re­spond in the right way when they are re­turn to ac­tion at Rich­mond to­day (Thurs­day, 5.30pm). Kent suf­fered a hugely frus­trat­ing de­feat at home to Glouces­ter­shire on Tues­day. De­spite re­strict­ing the vis­i­tors to a to­tal of 138-8 with some fine bowl­ing and slick field­ing at the Spit­fire Ground, St Lawrence, they fell eight runs short in a mod­est chase on a pitch which proved tricky for bat­ters. De­spite their su­perb form, Walker in­sisted Kent can’t rely on open­ers Joe Denly and Daniel Bell-Drum­mond to get them into win­ning po­si­tions.

He ad­mit­ted: “It was frus­trat­ing. I’m a bit lost for words. We had a great first half and I thought we bowled and fielded well. I thought (138) was well un­der par.

“We knew it was not go­ing to be a straight­for­ward chase be­cause the wicket wasn’t great, to be hon­est but we should be chas­ing that to­tal down com­fort­ably.

“We lost our way again in the mid­dle overs – it’s hap­pened be­fore, it hap­pened last year and we didn’t have any an­swers to what they threw at us un­for­tu­nately.

“We lost our way, lost wick­ets, took some poor op­tions, no­body re­ally grabbed it by the horns and took re­spon­si­bil­ity to go and win us the game.”

He added: “It’s frus­trat­ing. Danny Lye is mak­ing the Bostik South play­offs his main tar­get of the new sea­son. They may be new boys but the Ash­ford United boss has no thought of just mak­ing up the num­bers. Lye sur­veyed the new 2017/18 sea­son’s fixtures re­leased this week and said: “It’s go­ing to be tough – ev­ery one of the sides in it is a proper team.” United will start at home to Car­shal­ton Ath­letic on Satur­day, Au­gust 12, be­fore a trip to South Park at Reigate three days later. They host VCD on Satur­day, Au­gust 26, be­fore vis­it­ing FA Tro­phy op­po­nents Sit­ting­bourne on Bank Hol­i­day Mon­day. Lye said: “Get­ting to the play-offs is a min­i­mum be­cause we have got a good It’s a game we should win 99 times out of 100 but it wasn’t to be. We have got to learn from that pretty quickly be­cause we can’t rely on the top-three to win us games ev­ery week.

“We’re go­ing to need it from top to bot­tom to get us home in run chases like that. We fell well short.”

De­spite the loss – their se­cond to Glouces­ter­shire in five days – Kent have two wins and re­main well in the hunt for a knock­out place.

Look­ing at the Mid­dle­sex game, he said: “I have com­plete faith in the play­ers to bounce back and Thurs­day will be a dif­fer­ent game. We’ll move on and not dwell on it.

“There are good play­ers in ev­ery side in this divi­sion, pre­sent­ing dif­fer­ent chal­lenges. Mid­dle­sex have a lot of high qual­ity play­ers but so have we.”

Kent travel to face Sus­sex at Hove on Sun­day (2.30pm). enough squad to do it.” The first pri­or­ity though is to get enough points on the board to avoid any rel­e­ga­tion wor­ries. He added: “Once we have done that we can look to­wards the play-offs and if things go well, we can think about au­to­matic pro­mo­tion, and the top-two.” Lye has also been im­pressed by the club’s un­der-21 young­sters, and says he will have no qualms about giv­ing them their chance. He said: “Five or six of them could prob­a­bly be called upon if and when we need to use them, when we get in­juries.” United start their Kent Se­nior Cup cam­paign next month with a trip to Herne Bay. The win­ners will be at home to Mar­gate in Septem­ber.

Pic­ture: Paul Amos FM4850534

Ash­ford Town’s Jack Richard­son pushes the ball for a sin­gle against Or­p­ing­ton. See pages 54-55

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