Coles set to stoke Hampshire fire

SPORT.''KENT CRICKET.''LV County Championship Division Two.''Kent CCC v  Northamptonshire CCC.''Day 2 of 4. 1st session of play. Kent bowling 1st innings.''Matt Coles removes James Middlebrook lbw for 73.''Kent CCC, St Lawrence Ground, Old Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent.''Picture: Andy Jones
SPORT.''KENT CRICKET.''LV County Championship Division Two.''Kent CCC v Northamptonshire CCC.''Day 2 of 4. 1st session of play. Kent bowling 1st innings.''Matt Coles removes James Middlebrook lbw for 73.''Kent CCC, St Lawrence Ground, Old Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent.''Picture: Andy Jones

Services out to break new ground in survival bid

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Matt Coles is set to make his Hampshire debut today.

The England Lions all-rounder has penned a short-term loan move from Kent.

He is available to play first-class matches until the season ends – when it is understood he will seal a permanent move to the Ageas Bowl.

Coles, who is out of contract at the end of the summer, yesterday revealed his joy at completing the loan switch.

He said: ‘I am delighted to be joining Hampshire for the remainder of the 2013 season.

‘I have played against and alongside many of the guys in the team and look forward to a very productive time at the Ageas Bowl.’

Kent do not expect the 23-year-old to return to Canterbury after he turned down their offer of a new deal.

Coles will therefore become a free agent next month – with the loan transfer to Hampshire the clearest indication yet of where his future lies.

The right-arm seam bowler and powerful lower-order batsman has graduated from the Kent youth system.

And their chairman of cricket Graham Johnson is disappointed to see him leave, with the club having invested a great deal in his development.

He said: ‘Having seen Matt develop through the Kent system – with all the support that this has provided him – it is disappointing he feels he needs to go elsewhere in search of a way to deliver to his potential.

‘We wish him well and are now focused on developing our squad of players who have a desire to play for Kent and have the same vision.’

Coles will make his Hampshire debut in their County Championship division two showdown with Lancashire at Southport.

The Ageas Bowl outfit are third from bottom of the table, while the home side are sitting pretty in top spot.

With five games remaining – and hopes of promotion fading rapidly – there is little left for Hampshire to play for.

Coles, however, will be keen to make an instant impact at the club where he joins fellow England Lions players such as Michael Carberry, James Vince and Danny Briggs.

Carberry and Briggs miss the trip after they were named in the England t20 squad.

They will both hope to feature against the Aussies at the Ageas Bowl tomorrow evening.

Meanwhile, Carberry is celebrating after he was named in the one-day international squad for the five-match series against the tourists, which begins next week.