Sam Billings has expressed his disappointment over Kent fans’ behavior as they booed their former club captain, Sam Northeast, during the Royal London One-Day Cup final between Hampshire and Kent at Lord's on Saturday (June 30).
Riding on Rilee Rossouw’s magnificent ton (125 runs off 114 balls) and Northeast’s 60-ball 75*, Hampshire scored a mammoth 330/7 in 50 overs after being into bat. In reply, Kent got bundled out for 269 in 47.1 overs to hand Hampshire their maiden Royal London One-Day Cup title.
Northeast, who switched counties over the winter, was jeered onto the pitch by Kent supporters and Billings termed it as unacceptable.
"In a word, no. That's not really cricket, I know it's a cliche, but Sam's a classy player, he showed that today. Of course, whenever a player leaves a club there will be a bitterness but I don't think that's fair at all, really, to be very blunt. I don't agree with it at all. It certainly gave the game an edge, everyone felt that in the ground. There was something bubbling there," Kent skipper Sam Billings quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
Hampshire skipper James Vince was in all praise for Northeast’s calm and composed demeanor. Vince felt Kent fans’ jeering motivated Northeast to up his game.
"I said to Sam when we knew we were playing Kent in the final how good it would be for him to get a hundred against them," Vince said.
"He's obviously played a big part in getting Kent to where they are now, so it's perhaps slightly unfair but he was fired up to do well for us today. He's a very calm man. There was no question that it wasn't going to faze him. The players he played with have respect for him, the fans are entitled to their opinion and I think he'd respond well to that. It probably gave him the extra incentive to really contribute to us winning," he added.
Rossouw was deservedly adjudged Man of the Match and the southpaw was glad to make a contribution in the all-important final after losing his front teeth to a Jonathan Tattersall's drive in the semi-final against Yorkshire
"I'll take all the bad luck in the world to win a final. I'm happy to relax in victory after two weeks in the wars. I was stuck in the lift for 80 minutes in the hotel last night, on my own. I was actually on my way down to see my wife and my little baby. So I wasn't happy,” Rossouw stated.
"And with my teeth, I dropped a catch in the semi-finals, it went straight through my hands, hit my front teeth, broke the front two right off and chipped a third. The front two are completely gone. I've got a good dentist though, so the credit goes to him," he concluded.
(With inputs from Cricbuzz)