After 7 seasons, 65 appearances, 1023 runs, 49 catches, 18 run-out contributions and 12 stumpings, Exiles vice-captain Will Kent is returning to live in Australia this Winter. The Exiles website caught up with Will to ask him to reflect on his Exiles career:
Hi Will, how’s things?
Busy. Moving continents isn’t as easy as you’d think.
It’s now a few weeks since the season finished, how do you reflect on your Exiles career as a whole?
From a cricketing perspective satisfied that I reached 1000 runs for the club and overtook Wil Scott in the keeping stats. From a social perspective I’m glad I had the chance to play the game with such a diverse group.
A tinge of sadness? What will you miss most?
What will I miss most; tough question – the camaraderie, the friendly banter, the unorthodox cricketing skills, Marcin’s pep talks to himself at fine leg, having to pack a wool jumper in my cricket bag for the customary change in weather. So many facets to the club that part of me will miss but how can I go pass the face of utter disbelief as a batsmen has found themselves dismissed “bowled Ling” – Parko’s was by far the most anguished of the many I’ve seen.
What was your favourite Exiles match?
Captaining the side to wins against Agricola and WICC stand out. Hitting a 50 at Ascot was also rewarding.
And your personal best performance?
My maiden 50 with the club, first in England even, against Commonwealth 1920 in 2011. It was hard fought and won us the game but it was also great to share a 50 run stand with Naren – probably the only time I’ve scored over half the runs in a 50 run partnership!
Your favourite opposition clubs and grounds?
I’ve always enjoyed playing against some of our regular opposition. WICC were always hard to beat but they were always good to play against. Agricola games have always been competitive with some good guys in the team. There are real characters in the teams we play regularly and I’ll miss some of them.
As for grounds Ascot probably takes it. Beautiful ground, a good day away, and I scored some runs there.
Which team-mate did you enjoy batting with most?
Can we switch this around and say who didn’t I enjoy batting with, it’s a smaller list – that’d be Simon. A different level when it comes to skill so he always made me feel like an amateur (well more so of one) but my main problem with Simon was trying to keep up. In one game he wanted to run four, he lapped me and I started at the non-strikers end. With Simon at the crease I was out of breath after the first over; do I really have to take another quick single to cover?
As for team mates I enjoyed batting with it’s a little longer list. Keith for his grace, John for his power and timing, Chris for his tenacity and ability to build an innings, Bernard because he spread the field and doesn’t run – it made it easy for me to take a dawdled single. A special mention has also got to go to Marcin. It was always a pleasure to be in the middle with him, cue raised eyebrows. He’d lighten the mood and showed the game is to be enjoyed, although showing us this side of the game probably isn’t what he intends to do when he’s out there.
And who did you enjoy keeping to?
Phil Ling, for purely comedy reasons. The reactions from batsmen facing Phil for the first time ranged from stunned mullet (stand there and look down the pitch, mouth agape) to bewildered dog (walk to square leg shaking head, occasional look back to the bowling end) to the bystander (turns to me and asks what just happened). I could only ever shrug at batsmen and tell them the truth – I still don’t know where the ball comes from.
Anything you learnt by playing cricket for the Exiles?
I’m not as young as I used to be – those days when John or Chris asked me to keep and open the batting really were tough – especially so on the Wednesday after the game. In my youth it wasn’t ever an issue. So thanks for that guys!
Anything you won’t miss??
I definitely won’t miss being bowled by deliveries that bounce half way down the pitch and fail to get above my shoelaces.
What next in your cricketing career – do you intend on finding a club back home?
My only solid intention for cricket back home is to introduce James and Florence to the game and help coach their team/s – assuming they want to play the game. As for playing myself, I’ll see how it goes. The season will be in full swing when I get back to Sydney, and my stuff will still be in transit, so any continuation of my career might have to wait till the 2017/18 season.
And a possible touring destination for the Exiles at some point in the years ahead?
Definitely – if you can get 11 across to the other side of the world. Hard enough getting 11 out in Wimbledon on a Sunday. But having said that I guess you’ll only need 9 – Dan and I could turn out for the Exiles again, any others?
Will you keep an eye on the Exiles website for results in the seasons ahead?
Yeah I will, if only to make sure Phil Ling is behind me in the runs accumulated list. He still tells me with his 9 runs this season he’s just starting to warm up with the bat; next season is his.
Will, its been an absolute pleasure having you as part of the club over the years, and you’ll be sorely missed. Wishing you and your family the very best for the future…
Thank you very much. It has been great to have played with so many people from such a diverse set of backgrounds. I’ve learnt about the game from many at the club and I’ll look back fondly on my time as an Exile. I hope I’ll be able to stay in touch with many at the club and if anyone is in Australia please get in contact and I’ll be more than happy to buy you a schooner and spin cricketing yarns.