Hello there and welcome to the latest edition of ‘Canterbury Tales,’ our weekly ramble about all things Kent County Cricket Club, a very festive episode, seeing as it’s our last before Christmas.

“Wait, what? It’s Thursday, why am I reading this on a Thursday, it should be Friday evening at least?” I know this what you’re saying to yourself now but the powers that be have decided that this week’s edition should be a rare Thursday edition, so get over it and let’s get on with it!

Catching Up

Well what has happened in the last six days since you heard from your favourite Kent correspondent? As the title would suggest, the answer is news and plenty of it.

On this bright, sunny but bitter Thursday, we can cover all of it. You would think that this time of year would be an extremely quiet one for a cricket team based in England, but it has been far from it. As we’ll find out.

News, News, News!

Following the excitement of numerous players signing new contracts, being called up for international duty and the announcement of 2019’s fixtures in the first half of the month. The newsy trend has continued as we approach the second half of the month that famously holds my birthday. No I’m not Christ, I was just born in December.

Yes, in the last seven days, plenty has come out of the Spitfire Ground, and I’m not talking about news of Bryan Adams performing early next year. He will be following in the footsteps of the likes of Olly Murs, Tom Jones and UB40 in recent times.

I’m also not talking about the exciting Christmas shopping event that was held at the club shop over the weekend…

This is more like it:

The news broke earlier in the week that former Zimbabwe international Mark Dekker, who has held a community role in the club since 2017, will be taking charge of Kent Women for next year. For the festive season, this is a rather big bit of news to come out of a cricket club in Kent. Dekker will be hoping to lead the team that has seen England stars such as Charlotte Edwards, Tammy Beaumont and Laura Marsh don their ranks in recent years to glory next year.

More News

However, as you may have guessed by the title of this subheading, this wasn’t the only bit of big Kent news in the last week. Otherwise, why would I be putting such a huge emphasis on news?

This was due to something going on Tuesday afternoon that brought about news for some of the top clubs in the nation that gave cricket to the world. News meaning they would be without some of their key stars for the start of next season.

Of course, I’m referring to the IPL auction for the 2019 edition of the tournament that older generations of English cricket fans love to hate. And there was BIG news if you’re a fan of Joe Denly, and you guys know me…

For a hefty fee of £110,000, which I’ll have you know is a hell of a lot of money in cricket, England’s best all-rounder (no one can say otherwise) has been picked up by the Kolkata Knight Riders.

It will be the first time the Canterbury native has featured in the IPL. A competition which he’ll somehow fit into his schedule in the first couple of months of 2019. This is despite Big Bash duty, England’s tour of the West Indies and the PSL, without even mentioning the start of Kent’s campaign.

Even the man himself was a little surprised when he was sold at the IPL auction, being asleep at the time. Although this is probably down to the time difference in Sydney.

Star Billings

Denly will join, as ever, his captain Sam Billings in India. Who will feature for Chennai Super Kings, meaning both will miss the first two months of the campaign and the whole of the Royal London One-Day Cup. Darren Stevens is likely to step in as captain.

It could be worse if the pair are both picked for England in the World Cup, they might not feature until July!

Billings himself received a bit of personal news this week, that he will be heading to India a little earlier than planned ahead of the IPL’s start in March, on tour with his England Lions teammates once more.

Fellow stars of my beloved county in 2018 Adam Milne, Carlos Braithwaite and Marcus Stoinis will be playing for Kolkata, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the competition respectively. Meanwhile, star bowler of the 2018 season for Kent, Matt Henry, was surprisingly left unsold. That’s a wrap for all the news!

Preparations For New Season Underway

Before we wind down in this pre-Christmas ‘Canterbury Tales,’ it’s worth casting a brief thought to the 2019 domestic campaign, which we are another six days closer to.

It’s something that tends to stick in the mind of cricket fans throughout pre-season and the cold harsh winter. The feelings intensify towards the new year. And I tell you, our Kent boys are ready for everything that will be thrown at them in 2019!

Merry Christmas

Before we wrap up today’s column, which has heavily featured extracts from my favourite Twitter account, that of Kent CCC, there’s something we want to wish you.

I’m not going to sing, how can I, this is a column?! But we do wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from everyone here on the ‘Canterbury Tales’ team and at HFAL. There we go, a rare slice of kindness from my bitter cricket-less winter heart.

Until Next Time…

Anyway, that’s all we have time for this week and for the year. In fact due to the demands of the festive football season, we won’t be back until the middle month of January 2019. But we’ll be sure to make up for lost time, don’t you worry!.

Before I get all teary (it’s too late), until next time…