Kent’s coaches are taking the chance to have an extended look at four fringe county cricketers on trial at St Lawrence throughout the club’s fortnight of pre-season training.
As they did last season, when the likes of Mark Lawson and Paul Muchall both turned out for the Spitfires as non-contracted players, Kent are running the rule over several youngsters previously connected to other counties.
The first of this year’s quartet is Glasgow-born Calum MacLeod, a right-arm seam bowler on Warwickshire’s books for the past two seasons. Aged 22, MacLeod has played four one-day internationals for Scotland and has been likened in style and appearance to Kent’s Simon Cook.
The 26-year-old Neil Saker is the second of the three. Slightly more experienced having made 18 first-class appearances for Surrey between 2003 and 2007, Saker is a six feet four inches tall right-arm medium-pacer who was released in 2008 having taken 31 first-class wickets and after posting one half-century.
The third Kent trialist this spring is South African-born all-rounder Kyle Hodnett. Aged 24, the former MCC Young Cricketer is a left-handed batsman and right-armed seamer.
Finally, Kent are also assessing a 20-year-old from Pontypool, Jonathan Denning. A right-hand bat and left-arm seamer, he has played for Glamorgan 2nds and Wales.
Meanwhile, honours finished even as Kent’s two pre-season games against Lancashire played in Beckenham both finished as draws.
In the opening two-day game, Kent posted scores of 254 for 5 declared and 82 for 2, while the visitors responded with 84 for 3 and 204 for 6.
Joe Denly top-scored with 115 and his opening partner, Rob Key, contributed 56 to a first-wicket stand worth 136. Darren Stevens and Martin van Jaarsveld both hit 40s, but no Lancashire bat bettered Paul Horton’s 47.
In the final game of the three days, Kent had reached 165 for 3 in only 31.5 overs of a 50-over match when rain wiped out the remainder of the game. Van Jaarsveld was unbeaten on 59 when the heavens opened.
Kent take on Sussex at Canterbury in their third and final warm-up game on Tuesday, April 5.