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News

Keaton Jennings left to grin and bear it through another Lancashire heartbreak

Lancashire have been in the running for three competitions this season and won nothing

David Hopps
David Hopps
17-Sep-2022
Keaton Jennings was able to smile in the face of defeat, Royal London Cup Final, Kent vs Lancashire, Trent Bridge, September 17, 2022

Keaton Jennings was able to smile in the face of defeat  •  Getty Images

Lancashire have been in the running for three competitions this season and have won nothing. Defeat in the Royal London Cup final followed an agonising near-miss in the T20 Blast final that Hampshire famously won twice, and a Championship challenge that was finally extinguished by a six-point penalty for disciplinary reasons.
For Keaton Jennings, Lancashire's captain in the 50-over competition, another disappointment was hard to take, and it was testimony to his good nature and maturity that he was able to smile in the face of failure.
"I suppose one positive is we gave ourselves a chance to win," he said. "We got into two finals and in the Championship we have played some really good cricket and had we been able to force a result in a couple of games it might have been different.
"It is tough to take. You can look back on every bad moment and be incredibly hard on yourself but the fact is the guys have played some really good cricket."
Jennings had been one of the culprits in a surprisingly error-ridden Lancashire fielding display - Kent's outfielding comfortably outdid them - and then was dismissed for 72 when an untroubled innings was promising to set up victory.
"Our catching was a factor," he said. "Our fielding throughout the competition has been a stand-out for me. I don't want to say exceptional, but the guys have thrown their bodies around and caught some seriously good catches."
He must be in the running for the reserve opener's position on England's Test tour of Pakistan, but it was not the time for him to wonder about it.
"I'm not particularly wondering right now," he said. "As far as England selection is concerned it's completely out of my hands. This defeat is hard to take and I don't want to look any further."
Kent's player of the match as they took their first List A title for 44 years, ending a run of eight consecutive defeats in final since then, was Joey Evison, who collected his award while chants rang around the ground for the allrounder he is earmarked to replace - Darren Stevens, 26 years his senior, and stricken by a groin injury which ended his spell after eight overs
Evison struck 97 on his return to Trent Bridge - he was loaned out to Kent for this season ahead of a three-year deal - and he also bowled a decisive penultimate over with Lancashire 22 short and the last pair at the crease. He looked nerveless, but revealed that he was troubled by cramp.
"I was cramping up a bit so I was a bit worried about that," he said. "I obviously didn't drink enough. I was stretching quite a lot. It could have gone the other way. Liam Hurt can be quite dangerous in those situations, but the final ball came out nicely.
"If you'd have told me at the start of the day I would get 97, as well as two wickets and a catch, and I would have bitten your hand off.
"I think we outfielded Lancashire. They dropped a few catches and we managed to take them."
If Stevens could be expected to limp happily around the bar throughout the evening, his season, his Kent career, his entire career perhaps now at an end, Kent's celebrations would have to be tempered. They are still not clear of potential relegation and face a demanding penultimate match against Championship-chasing Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl on Tuesday.

David Hopps writes on county cricket for ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps