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Postby q123 on 20 Jun 2018, 07:08

It has been an odd season at Kent CCC. They could not make it past the group stages in the competition they were tipped to fare best in, the T20 Blast, but are right in the mix for promotion to Division One in the County Championship, and are preparing for a home quarter-final - against Yorkshire on Thursday - in the Royal London Cup.Equally, their players continue to reach for higher honours and the areas deep well of talent shows no signs of drying: Sam Billings has been to the IPL and with England, while Daniel Bell-Drummond shone for the Lions.And yet, theres been a quiet but constant state of turbulence at Canterbury.On April 18, Kent legend Robert Key returned from India, having taken to broadcasting like a duck to water during the World T20, and decided the hunger to reach 60 first-class centuries had dipped. The 54 he had, a bit of telly and a bucketload of golf would do just fine. His team-mates were shocked, and the beating heart of the dressing room and 18 seasons of experience (nine as captain) were gone, taking a roomful of laughs with it.Then, on May 23, Kents high performance director (and former wicketkeeper), Simon Willis, left to take up a similar role with Sri Lanka, under former Kent coach Graham Ford. Willis, as director of Kents newly-formed academy from 2003, had overseen the development of a charmingly homespun young squad, and six internationals. Off went another lynchpin.To top things off, on June 27, bowler Matt Coles behaviour during a trip to Cardiff was investigated by the club. He would not play for a month as he - not for the first time - addressed his relationship with alcohol. Were the first and third events linked? Certainly Key had been Coles mentor, and the man known for keeping him in check.At the eye of the storm sits Sam Northeast, Kents new captain, top run-scorer and full-time busybody. Batsman Joe Denly describes Northeast as first in the nets, last to leave. Sams always trying to be better. When arranging this interview, there are three delays. First, because Northeast is in a selection meeting; then hes travelling to Hampshire to watch Kents second team; finally hes looking at his squads contract situation for next season. Only James Vince is a younger county captain - Northeast is 26 - but few can be more hands-on.Such is life at a club like Kent, where the resources are stretched and the staff small. We dont… he says, pausing, have the luxury of millions of backroom staff and scouts and whatever. Its a big effort from a small group of people, we pull together and from the academy, the youth structure, everyone. There can be benefits to this - everyone knows each other, its a family environment, and that helps. We have to put in a big shift. All of us.Northeast is as Kentish as Key; its where he grew up and his name is one that has been whispered since he scored 19 hundreds in a term at Wellesley House prep school aged 13. He played plenty for England Under-19, and his success leading Kents limited-overs sides last season meant his elevation to the top job, in time, seemed a given.Im learning on the job, just like anyone else. I took a lot from Keysy, both tactically and in work ethic. He was a great mentor, as well as having a pretty serious cricket brain, and all those runs. He pretty much ran Kent cricket for all those years…Its been very different not having him around, for all of us. People look to you for inspiration and leadership because he did that for so long, and maybe we took that for granted. I only noticed when I stepped into the role how much of a big hole was left when he moved on.What of those tough patches? Its been an interesting season, certainly, he says, whilst swiftly citing the support of senior players like Denly, Darren Stevens and James Tredwell, plus Billings itinerant experience. Willis, he says, is a huge loss - not just a vital, visible cog at the club, with his pawprints all over the squad, but a key player in Northeasts own development as a hands-off coach who never imposed himself on his charges.Denly has been mighty impressed. He hasnt let the pressure of captaincy bother his batting, and his on-field persona is very calm. He can be a bit fiery when he gets out, but who isnt? Hes dealt with distractions well, and he has good people around him with lots of experience, and the powers that be at Kent are in pretty good shape.Despite their losses, Kent are in pretty good shape. Last year they earned headlines for not being able to afford an overseas player, but this year - one way or another - Tom Latham and Kagiso Rabada were recruited. Denly has signed a new deal and Northeast is confident they will not lose young stars and can, in Willis absence, with Min Patel at the helm, continue to produce talent.For the first team, starting against Yorkshire, it is business time. We go in as underdogs, says Northeast. The pressure isnt on us, they will have all the internationals which is great. It would be awesome to get a sellout, the club deserves a big day like this, and hopefully we get out on top. We are up there in Division Two because we have been pretty solid all season, but I think we are well suited - especially the bowlers, Treddy, Stevo - to 50-over stuff. But every game is massive now. Were young, so inconsistent, but are learning fast. Northeasts own form - not least 995 Championship runs, including four massive hundreds (the smallest being 166) - has been a vital factor in Kents rise. After some mixed seasons opening, he is settled in the middle order, and knows his game: I have found a spot where I like to bat, especially with the captaincy, after however long in the field, its quite nice to have that little period where you dont have to strap the pads on. I have a lot of sympathy for Alastair Cook when he does it. Thats pretty extraordinary. I look back and cant believe I ever opened. Its mad.He uses former Kent team-mate Martin van Jaarsveld as inspiration because he was a guy who just never settled and never stopped trying to improve. Ahead of the 2015 season, he and Willis worked on making him a more adaptable batsman, particularly in the shorter forms, so he did not just hit to cow corner. The results were instant, as only two players scored more T20 Blast runs than him, and his century famously trumped Chris Gayles as Kent won a thriller in Taunton.Another run glut, this time against red balls, has flowed lately. Across my career, Im a guy who tends to make the most of my form. Ive felt great recently, and when you feel a millions dollars its key to capitalise. Unfortunately Ive been stuck in the nervous 190s lately.Those big centuries have caught the eye, and Northeast is unashamedly ambitious, making no bones about being desperate for England recognition, having - surprisingly - never even made a Lions squad. He is aware, too, that playing in Division Two naturally does hold you back in peoples perceptions, and there is a gap. In the past, particularly in 2013, there were questions about whether he might leave, but he has remained loyal, even as the more eye-catching - but no less effective - talents of Billings and Bell-Drummond have created more headlines.So is he - as captain of a promising squad, building something (and sometimes holding things together), at his home club, his team - left in a quandary?At the moment, I wouldnt leave to further my England case, no, he says. But can you ever say never? My heart is very much in Kent cricket and wanting to achieve something here. I want to play for England through Kent, and I want to get Kent into Division One and back up there as a force, one of the leading counties in England. Its been an ambition of mine to captain Kent and take the club as far as possible. Im very lucky.So, you sense, are Kent. Nike Vapor Street Flyknit Olive . Arsenal failed to take full advantage of its main rivals stumbles on Saturday as substitute Gerard Deulofeu levelled with a hard shot from a tight angle in the 84th minute to give Everton a deserved point. Ahead of a crucial fortnight that will see them play against Napoli in the Champions League, Manchester City and Chelsea, Arsenal leads by five points ahead of Liverpool and Chelsea. Nike Zoom Mariah Flyknit White . The next step is a better finish. Bae played bogey-free Friday on another gorgeous day at Riviera for a 5-under 66, giving him a one-shot lead over Aaron Baddeley and Robert Garrigus going into the weekend. http://www.nikezoomshoesale.com/nike-vandal-high.html . - Derek Wolfe says hes finally healthy after suffering a seizure in November that doctors now believe was related to the spinal cord injury he suffered in the preseason. Nike Zoom Pegasus 35 Mens . Radwanska, making her debut in the Seoul tournament, hit eight aces in a match that lasted 1 hour, 4 minutes at Olympic Park tennis stadium. "It was definitely a very good match -- I was playing really good tennis," Radwanska said. Nike Sb Zoom Blazer Low Decon . -- Arizona raced out to a big lead and did not back off, hitting the accelerator instead. BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins last season failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the second straight season, and it was obvious that defense was their weakness.The Bruins have seven defensemen under NHL contracts who played for them last season, led by captain Zdeno Chara. Only Dennis Seidenberg, who was bought out over the summer, is not back. Without an overhaul of the personnel, the Bruins are hoping a faster pace will help turn things around.The game evolves and were going to evolve with it, said coach Claude Julien, whose team finished fifth in scoring (2.88 goals per game) but ranked 20th in goals allowed (2.78 per game). So I think we have the ability to make our `D corps better this year with our play, and thats where were going to start.General manager Don Sweeney said the play is to be aggressive and spend as much time in the other teams end as possible.Its a mindset of the players to play that way, he said. I think the players would like to play that way and dictate, rather than being on sort of a retreat mentality.Some things to know about the 2016-17 Boston Bruins:MARCHAND MOMENTUMLeft wing Brad Marchand followed up his career-best 37-goal season last season by lighting up the World Cup of Hockey 2016 in September with a tournament-best five goals in six games. He also scored the game-winning short-handed goal in the final minute of Team Canadas clinching victory in the second game of the best-of-three final against Team Europe.Marchand signed an eight-year, $49 million contract, which will keep him from testing unrestricted free agency next summer. Eighteen of his 37 goals last season gave the Bruins a lead.WELCOME BACKESAfter 10 seasons with the St. Louis Blues, including five as their captain, David Backes joined the Bruins as an unrestricted free agent by signing a five-year, $30 million contract July 1. Backes has scored more than 20 goals six times in his career, but the Bruins are also hoping he can take some of the defensive lload off three-time Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron and provide a vocal leader in the dressing room.ddddddddddddASK GETS HELPThe Bruins struggled to find a backup for goaltender Tuukka Rask they could trust the past two seasons. The result was Rask playing 134 games the past two seasons, third among all NHL goaltenders in that span. Despite the workload and a tough start last season, Rask produced a respectable 2.56 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.But the return of the Anton Khudobin, who played for the Bruins 2011-13, should provide Rask with enough rest to be at his best more often in 2016-17.I thought he played well for us, did a great job as a second goaltender ... and I think he won us some big games, Julien said.COACHING STAFF SHUFFLESweeney took a little time after the Bruins missed the playoffs last season to decide what to do with his coaching staff. Sweeney and Julien mutually decided Julien should return for a 10th season.However, the Bruins winningest coach (393-223-88) has new assistants: Bruce Cassidy, formerly coach of the Providence Bruins of the AHL, and Jay Pandolfo, who moves down from the front office, becoming assistant coaches replace Doug Houda and Doug Jarvis.PRACTICING IN LUXURYThe start of Bruins training camp marked the opening of the state-of-the-art Warrior Ice Arena, Bostons new practice facility, in the Brighton neighborhood. The Bruins, who now have a seven-mile commute from TD Garden, trained for more than two decades in the suburb of Wilmington. The new facility provides the Bruins with a larger and more modern workout room, workout equipment, trainers room and players lounge -- all which the team hopes will make the Bruins a destination and will better foster team camaraderie.I would envision that theyre probably hanging out a little bit more, Bruins president Cam Neely said. 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