Report: Northamptonshire v Warwickshire, County Championship
Luke Procter hit 144, his highest first-class score, as Northamptonshire batted out a draw on the final day of this LV= Insurance County Championship match at Wantage Road.
Procter and Ryan Rickleton, who also scored a century, shared a record third-wicket stand for Northamptonshire against Warwickshire of 226 in 51 overs. It was Procter’s third Championship ton of the season, while South African international Rickleton’s 103 came while making his debut in county cricket.
Their stand followed a dramatic start to the day. Simon Kerrigan mopped up Warwickshire’s tail with two wickets in just 10 deliveries to give Northamptonshire a 46-run advantage on first innings. The hosts then lost both openers inside four overs to offer the visitors a glimmer of hope.
From there though Procter and Rickleton booked in for the afternoon to put any chance of an upset out of the equation. In total Procter hit 19 fours and three sixes in a four-hour stay at the crease (204 balls).
Kerrigan was in the groove immediately in the morning, trapping Craig Miles leg before and having Oliver Hannon-Dalby caught behind as Warwickshire closed on 405.
In reply, Northamptonshire skipper Ricardo Vasconcelos fell in the first over, caught behind off Hannon-Dalby Shortly afterwards Emilio Gay followed in similar fashion off Nathan McAndrew to leave the Steelbacks 10 for two in the fourth over.
Rickleton had a scare early in his innings when he edged Nathan McAndrew just in front of second slip. But from there he and Procter looked to be positive throughout the morning session. Procter was in a belligerent mood, pulling disdainfully off both McAndrew and Hannon-Dalby and driving sweetly through the covers.
Rickleton’s first boundary came when he lent into a lovely cover drive off McAndrew but he targeted teenage left-arm spinner Jacob Bethell too, stepping down the wicket to smash him over long-on for six and reverse sweeping and cover driving for fours.
Procter reached his half-century soon after the lunch break, and unfurled some serene drives and cut shots as he got back into his work.
Bethell, playing only his third first-class game, obtained plenty of turn and bounce and posed questions for the Northamptonshire batters. He was taken out of the attack though when Procter took advantage of a long hop and a full toss and dispatched both for six.
Racing through the nineties, Procter struck Lamb over deep midwicket for another maximum before running three to reach his ton off 126 balls..
Rickleton too began in aggressive fashion after lunch, taking five boundaries off Henry Brookes’ first two overs. He went past 50 with a sumptuous drive down the ground and clubbed Matt Lamb for four more in the same direction.
He reached his century with two streaky shots off the outside edge before pulling a short ball from Lamb into the hands of deep midwicket. He had faced 167 deliveries and struck 18 boundaries and one maximum.
Rob Keogh joined Procter with the score 236 for three and the pair safely negotiated the remaining overs before tea.
After the interval Warwickshire turned to their part-time bowlers including the rarely seen medium pace of keeper Michael Burgess who claimed his maiden first-class wicket when Keogh chased a wide one and edged to Miles who was standing in as keeper.
There were no further surprises though as Procter and Josh Cobb batted out the remaining overs before the players shook hands on a draw.
Dom Sibley posted his second LV= Insurance County Championship century of the campaign as Warwickshire frustrated Northamptonshire’s hopes of pushing for victory at Wantage Road.
Sibley’s patient knock of 102 was backed up by a belligerent 77 from 80 balls by Michael Burgess, ensuring the visitors passed the follow-on target and closed on 396 for eight, just 55 behind.
Nathan McAndrew struck his maiden Bears half-century, an undefeated 54 prior to stumps, while Northamptonshire seamer Jack White ended the day with figures of four for 62.
However, it looks unlikely either of the sides – who have registered just one Championship win between them so far this season – can find a way of increasing that tally on day four.
Although Ben Sanderson found some early movement when Warwickshire resumed at 71 for one, the home side soon turned to spin in the form of Simon Kerrigan. That move paid off immediately, with the left-armer’s third ball of the morning tempting Chris Benjamin to drive high into the hands of mid-off.
Will Rhodes joined Sibley, who continued to advance at a snail’s pace – the opener’s stay at the crease approaching four hours when he reached his half-century – but the pair gradually began to open up, with Rhodes coming down the track to thump Kerrigan over midwicket for the first six of the match.
However, Warwickshire were pegged back again by Josh Cobb’s pre-lunch spell of three overs for two runs – plus the wicket of Rhodes for 42, smartly caught by the diving Rob Keogh at mid-on.
Northamptonshire persevered with an all-spin attack following the interval, but Sibley dealt with that efficiently as he brought up his 17th first-class hundred, from 260 balls.
It was seam – and the new ball – that eventually did the trick when White returned to have Sibley caught behind and then removed Jacob Bethell, with Emilio Gay initially parrying the ball at second slip before recovering to dart forward and scoop it up just above the turf.
With Warwickshire retreating into their collective shell again, Matt Lamb survived two close calls to reach 37, squirting White just short of mid-on before edging Tom Taylor through the hands of Ryan Rickelton at first slip.
Taylor got his man on the stroke of tea, though, taken behind off the outside edge to leave the Bears six down and still requiring 44 to avoid the follow-on.
But any concerns were swiftly dispelled by Burgess, who thumped a trio of boundaries off Kerrigan and confidently swept him to the fence again to reduce the deficit below 150 as he and McAndrew added 88 for the seventh wicket.
Burgess looked comfortably on course for a hundred but, having pulled White for four, he attempted to repeat the stroke next ball and top-edged to cover instead.
Olly Hannon-Dalby celebrated 250 career first-class wickets as he ran through Northamptonshire’s lower order on day two of this LV= Insurance County Championship game at Northampton.
In a miserly four-over spell, Hannon-Dalby claimed four victims for just five runs as Northamptonshire added 31 runs to their overnight total to close on 451 all out. The 33-year-old-seamer is now the second leading wicket-taker in Division One with 29 scalps, just behind Keith Barker’s 32.
But despite his efforts Warwickshire still face a tough task in this game after some highly disciplined Northamptonshire bowling performance restricted scoring to just 1.8 an over with only two boundaries coming in the first 25 overs of the visitors’ reply.
Alex Davies looked to regain the initiative with some lusty blows but Jack White soon ended the resistance when he trapped him leg before for 31. Dom Sibley was still there at the close unbeaten on 30 as Warwickshire ended the day on 71 for one, still a mammoth 380 behind.
Play did not start until 3.10pm after heavy rain but Hannon-Dalby struck immediately with the second ball of the day. Tom Taylor became his 250th victim when he was caught behind playing an expansive shot.
In his next over Hannon-Dalby picked up Lewis McManus in similar fashion, to give Warwickshire keeper Michael Burgess his 100th career dismissal.
Ben Sanderson was greeted with some short stuff from Nathan McAndrew but responded by hooking him twice to the boundary and then punching him through the covers for four more before he edged Hannon-Dalby to Dom Sibley at first slip.
Simon Kerrigan, who was struck on the helmet trying to take evasive action to a short ball from McAndrew, hit the same bowler through midwicket and cover to take Northamptonshire past 450. But Hannon-Dalby ended proceedings soon afterwards by knocking White’s stumps out of the ground.
Northamptonshire’s seamers Sanderson, White, Taylor and Luke Procter found plenty of movement on offer to beat the bat and keep openers Davies and Sibley contained. There were few signs of aggression and any attempts to find the boundary were hampered by some ill timed shots. Just two balls crossed the ropes in the first 25 overs with Northamptonshire turning the screw further with four consecutive maidens.
Alex Davies had a reprieve when he offered a sharp return catch but Taylor could not quite hold on in his follow-through. Davies started to find his groove against Luke Procter, dispatching him for three boundaries in two overs including an imperious drive down the ground, before White trapped him lbw for 31 with Warwickshire on 53 for one in the 28th over.
Chris Benjamin nicked his first ball from White but the ball bounced just in front of first slip. He remained eight not out with Sibley as the day ended in bright sunshine.
Rob Keogh’s first century since the season’s opening game led the way for Northamptonshire on day one of their LV= Insurance County Championship clash with Warwickshire at Wantage Road.
Keogh struck 130 with 20 fours in a three and three quarter hour stay of elegant stroke play as the hosts reached 420 for six. The right-hander shared a fifth-wicket stand of 161 with Josh Cobb (88), all this after Emilio Gay had caressed his way to 70 in the morning session.
Skipper Will Rhodes was the pick of the bowlers with two for 44 from 20 overs, while Henry Brookes also picked up two wickets on what looks a good wicket at Northampton.
Ricardo Vasconcelos, in his first game back from injury, didn’t cash in on his decision to bat first after winning the toss, making only five before driving loosely at one from Henry Brookes to be caught behind.
South African international, Ryan Rickleton, parachuted in for two championship games to cover for Will Young, away on Test duty with New Zealand, was almost run out for nought before also falling cheaply to a brilliant left-handed catch by wicketkeeper Michael Burgess.
Thereafter, the morning was dominated by Gay’s stylish innings. The young left-hander was beautifully still at the crease, compact in defence, playing the ball right in front of his eyes. From that base, Gay unfurled some sumptuous off and cover drives in reaching 50 from 62 balls. However, with a century in the offing, lunch beckoning and having just pulled Nathan McAndrew for successive fours, the former Bedford School scholar tried the shot a third time to a straighter bumper and only succeeded in finding the safe hands of Matt Lamb at fine-leg. The way the youngster dragged himself off suggested he knew he’d missed an opportunity.
When Luke Proctor fell lbw to the nagging accuracy of Bears’ skipper Will Rhodes, the hosts were 139-4. However, this brought together Keogh and Cobb, who feasted on some friendly offerings from the visitors for much of the afternoon.
The two batters provided a great contrast of styles Keogh all timing and elegance as he peppered the mid-off and cover boundaries in racing to 50 at quicker than a run a ball with 11 fours. Cobb matched Keogh’s boundary count but took 25 balls more, mixing defence with brutal ball striking.
Once passed 50 Cobb cut loose in what appeared to be a race to a hundred between the pair. However, on 88 the county’s one-day skipper pulled a rare long-hop from Rhodes which looked to be going for six until Craig Miles took a superb catch falling backwards just inside the rope at deep square.
Keogh though found another batting ally in Lewis McManus and pushed on to complete a chanceless hundred soon after tea courtesy of an 18th four.
The hosts had reached 372-5 by the time the second new ball was due and Oliver Hannon-Dalby made the shiny cherry count, ending Keogh’s vigil with one which bounced on him and took the edge, Dom Sibley taking the catch at slip.
It was though their only reward as McManus became the fourth player to pass 50 shortly before the close.