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Troughton looking forward to an 'intriguing' top-two clash

FIRST-team coach Jim Troughton is looking forward to a "really intriguing" top-two clash when Warwickshire take on Kent at Tunbridge Wells in the Specsavers County Championship starting on Wednesday.

The match brings together the two form-teams in Division Two. While four successive wins have taken the Bears 24 points clear at the top, Kent have also started the season well.

Kent, whose assistant coach is Bears legend Allan Donald, won three of their first four games before having to settle for a draw last week when they piled up 582 for nine against Gloucestershire but were then frustrated by the home side's rearguard action.

While Gloucestershire were digging in at Bristol, Warwickshire were advancing to victory over Glamorgan as Ian Bell completed two unbeaten centuries in a match in which he was on the field for the entire game bar 115 minutes.

The four-wicket win over the Welsh county kept the Bears' championship momentum high - and put a spring back in their steps after the heartbreaking Royal London Cup exit 36 hours earlier.

"It was a really good win over Glamorgan which put to bed the disappointment of our exit from the 50-over comp," Troughton said.

"It was a great way for the guys to go into a couple of well-earned days off ahead of a long road-trip to Kent and Durham. It sets up a really intriguing game at Kent who have also started well."

The Kent match will be played at Tunbridge Wells, a lovely venue but one which has brought Warwickshire little joy over the years.

Of ten championship matches there since 1925 the Bears have won just one (in 1976 thanks to centuries from John Jameson and Dennis Amiss, 16 wickets from Steve Perryman and Eddie Hemmings and the absence of Kent trio Alan Knott, Derek Underwood and Bob Woolmer, away with England being beaten up by Viv Richards (232) at Trent Bridge.

So Troughton's men must sink a bit of a hoodoo - but they have seen off a couple of those already this season.

"Our record at Tunbridge Wells isn't great but we hadn't won a one-dayer at Nottingham or Durham for a while and have done both of those this season," said Troughton.

"We will go down there on the back of a really good start which the guys have achieved without having a lot of luck at times.

"The first game was an uncontested toss and in all the others Jeets has lost the toss. We have had to do it the hard way and to get wins from those games was a fantastic effort. Now it's going to be a big game down at Tunbridge Wells."

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