Sorry Kent, But We’re Not Hopping Mad

17th August 2018

Well played Kent. There really is nothing more to say. I’m not sure how this happens but it is now eleven yes ELEVEN in a row for the boys from the Garden of England against Somerset in T20 cricket. It was so nice to wake up this morning to the now customary taunting from the Kent faithful. I still find it extremely weird that supporters of other counties follow the Inciderand its writers. But there you go.

The gist of the tweets this morning is that I had been very quiet in the aftermath of last evening’s latest defeat at Canterbury. I hadn’t, I tweeted lastevening,  laughing at the preposterous nature of a ten game losing streak and saying how proud I was of Somerset for picking themselves up after a pretty shabby display with the ball to almost chase down an impossible target.

Exactly a week ago every Somerset player and supporter was witness to a valuable lesson in how not to lose. The lack of grace shown by Surrey’s Tom Curran in his now infamous and deleted tweet (you bet I’m not over it or finished on that one either) set a new low in how to take a loss. Irrespective of the rights or wrongs of the behaviour of the Taunton crowd Surrey in general and Curran, in particular, showed yet again they aren’t terribly good at dealing with defeat.

Somerset had plenty of reasons to feel aggrieved at the outcome last evening but to everyone connected with the club’s credit any fuming was done behind closed doors. Hey, we have won 7 in a row which in a format like T20 is pretty remarkable and, unless my laptop lies will still sit top of the south group ahead of the last round of games this evening.

There is no doubt that this latest defeat, directly as the result of the six-runslow over rate penalty, which was a little harsh given the conditions stretched the bounds of credibility but there it is that’s sport and if you can’t deal with it take up trainspotting!

But do you know what I can’t find anything but positives from the last game of the group phase. In fact, I think Kent may have done us a favour. A defeat if dealt with in the right way can be an immensely positive thing. Lessons can be learned and focus and motivation given a shot in the arm. In addition, it was a glorious defeat. A narrow defeat which at the interval, set 11 ½ and over and having just had the slow over rate penalty imposed would have seen lesser teams crumble. Somerset didn’t, they kept coming and in Captain Incredible Lewis Gregory got far closer than anyone would have predicted.

I suspect a good number of those Kent supporters who were jumping on social media straight after the game weren’t feeling so cocky with a couple of overs to go. To take it that close was a remarkable effort and, although I have seen some criticism aimed at the batting order for RvDM not getting to the crease, sign of a team with enormous collective spirit and will to win.

Perhaps crucially the unsuccessful chase ensure little damage was done to the net run rate. Somerset aren’t guaranteed a home tie despite sitting top of the group ahead of the last round of games for the other 8 teams this evening but it will take both Kent and Gloucestershire to hand out heavy defeats away to Essex and Hampshire respectively. That isn’t beyond the realms of possibility but even if it happens and Somerset end up third I’d not be as disappointed at that. Make no bones about it, this is a serious Somerset side in all formats and one which I reckon no one will want to face in the quarterfinals or, if we get there, on finals day.

Kent are a decent white ball side, nothing more. If you sat down and picked a combined XI from the two sides I think Kent would do well to get 3 into the team. They have outperformed their abilities in white ball this season and no-one will fancy going to the cricketing Valhalla that is the St Lawrence, sorry Spitfire (!) Ground in the quarters. And no dear Kent supporters that’s not a bad loser it’s a simple statement of fact.

But T20 is a format where the gap between the very good and the mediocre can be more easily breached than in the longer formats. The fact that Kent have the sign on us at the moment is just one of those things. It’s a laugh, take it on the chin, allow them their moment (again) and move on. After all we have a Division One title run in to deal with as well.

And if, as I’ve got a hunch will happen we face them on finals day, maybe, hopefully, we will have the last laugh of the season……

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