Walker plea to batsmen
LYE’S TARGET TO TAKE UNITED TO THE PLAY-OFFS
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.
Ashford Town’s Jack Richardson pushes the ball for a single against Orpington. See pages 54-55