Bob Willis Trophy
Sat 1 - Tue 4 Aug, 11:00

Edgbaston, Birmingham

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Warwickshire

Warwickshire

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Warwickshire

Northamptonshire

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Match Report: Warwickshire v Northamptonshire, Bob Willis Trophy

Day 4

Northamptonshire secured a Bob Willis Trophy draw after seventh-wicket pair Adam Rossington and Luke Procter batted through the final day to crush the life out of Warwickshire’s victory bid at Edgbaston.

Northamptonshire seemed to be hurling to defeat when, just after lunch on the third day, trailing by 227 on first innings, they hit 148 for five in their second. 

But from that point onwards they showed enormous resilience and resolve to bat their way to safety.  

The great escape was led by Rossington who dug in to deliver the archetypal captain’s innings – 135 from 399 balls with 17 fours. After adding 159 with Charlie Thurston on the third day, on the fourth, the skipper added an unbroken 200 in 83 overs with Procter (112 not out, 234 balls, 19 fours) to steer his side to 507 for six, their record total against Warwickshire. 

The superb rearguard action left a young Northamptonshire side proud and delighted, but there were the opposite feelings in the home dressing-room. 

The absence of Stone, who was off the field having a side injury assessed, was a big blow. 

Northamptonshire still had plenty to do to get safe in the match when they resumed on the final morning on 317 for six but Procter set down an immediate marker for the day with successive fours off Tim Bresnan.  

On a pitch which offered the seamers less and less assistance as the match lengthened, very few balls did not locate the middle of the bat. Rossington reached his seventh first-class century from 227 balls with his 14th four, punched straight off Ryan Sidebottom before, in the next over, Procter posted his 50 from 91 balls with eight fours. 

The pair added 98 in the morning, then in the afternoon Rossington dropped anchor deeper than ever. The captain scored just 15 runs in the session, settling for largely strokeless resistance and challenging the home side to find the potency to dislodge him, which they failed to do. 

Procter completed his fourth first-class century (202 balls) with his 17th boundary, cut off Rob Yates, in the first over after tea. That Yates, having never before purveyed his off-spin in first-class cricket, was into his 14th over said everything about Warwickshire’s bowling performance. They will hope to welcome Liam Norwell and Henry Brookes back into the attack for the match away to Gloucestershire starting next Saturday. 

Day 3

Northamptonshire fought back hard to stall Warwickshire’s victory push on the third day of a compelling Bob Willis Trophy tussle at Edgbaston.

Trailing by 227 on first innings, the visitors closed the third day on 317 for six – 90 ahead. Quick wickets on the final morning would still leave the home side strongly-placed for victory but Northamptonshire have put themselves right back in the game. 

When, shortly after lunch, they declined to 148 for five, still 79 behind, defeat beckoned inside three days. But Charlie Thurston (96, 168 balls, 15 fours) and Adam Rossington (60 not out, 147 balls, eight fours) added 159 in 48 overs, a Northamptonshire sixth-wicket record against Warwickshire, to set up an interesting last day.

For the Bears, there was frustration after their domination of the first two days. They were hampered by the absence of England paceman Olly Stone who took the field at start of play but did not bowl before leaving as a precaution after feeling some discomfort in his side. The problem does not appear serious, as he took the drinks out to his team-mates a short time later, but no risks will be taken with a player who is firmly in England’s reckoning.

Without Stone, as the day wore on, Warwickshire’s attack looked much less potent than in the first innings, though they made strong progress at first. After Northamptonshire resumed on 19 without loss, they soon lost Emilio Gay who edged Olly Hannon-Dalby to Tim Bresnan at first slip. 

The impressive Hannon-Dalby had both Ben Curran and Ricardo Vasconcelos dropped in the cordon and the pair took advantage of their reprieves to add 79 in 19 overs. Curran batted fluently for 58 (88 balls, 11 fours), his fifth first-class half-century, which arrived during a flurry of four fours in an over from Ryan Sidebottom. The 24-year-old’s hopes of advancing to a maiden century were ended in the next over when he fell lbw to captain Will Rhodes.

Northamptonshire looked solid at 135 for two at lunch but lost three wickets in the first eight overs of the afternoon session. Vasconcelos (42, 76 balls, nine fours) departed in careless fashion when he lifted Alex Thomson to short extra cover and Rob Keogh chipped Tim Bresnan loosely to point but Saif Zaib was blameless, nicking an away-swinger from Bresnan to complete a pair. 

Northamptonshire looked to be hurtling towards defeat but Thurston and Rossington shored up the innings with intelligent, compact batting. Thurston reached his half-century from 92 balls with Rossington following to his from 117 in two and a half hours’ worth of true captain’s innings. 

They were separated late in the day when Warwickshire had eight overs with the new ball. In the second of them, Bresnan continued his excellent debut by trapping Thurston lbw but the resolute Rossington remains to take the fight into the final day.

Day Two

Tim Bresnan’s debut century tightened Warwickshire’s hold over Northamptonshire on the second day of their opening Bob Willis Trophy fixture at Edgbaston. 

Bresnan, signed from Yorkshire earlier this summer, emulated the man whose experience he has been recruited to replace at Edgbaston, Jeetan Patel, by scoring a ton in his first knock for the Bears. 

The former England all-rounder’s compact 105 (209 balls, 12 fours, two sixes) lifted Warwickshire to 369 for eight after 120 overs, the point at which a first innings must close in the Bob Willis Trophy. That meant a commanding first innings lead of 227, Northamptonshire having been bowled out for 142 on the first day, and represented a strong recovery from a vulnerable 85 for four. 

The innings was glued together early on by 20-year-old Rob Yates who displayed great composure, judgment and technique on his way to 88 (262 balls, 11 fours). Yates and Bresnan added 79 in 39 overs to stabilise the innings before Bresnan and Alex Thomson (46, 85 balls, six fours, one six) took toll of a tiring attack to put on 104 in 28 overs and to build what should be a match-winning lead. 

In seven overs before the close, Northamptonshire at least avoided damage, reaching 19 without loss, a commendable effort by openers Ben Curran and Emilio Gay after a long, hot day in the field. 

Warwickshire resumed on the second morning on 130 for four and added 11, taking the stand of Yates and Michael Burgess to 56 in 20 overs before Burgess (39, 55 balls, four fours, one six) lost his off-stump to a fine in-ducker from Ben Sanderson. 

That brought in Bresnan and, against the same opposition as when he made his Yorkshire debut 17 years earlier, the 35-year-old made an immediate match-shaping impact.  While Yates, leaving the ball astutely and deploying endless patience, played the perfect anchor role, Bresnan worked the ball around wisely to reach his half-century from 110 balls. 

Yates finally fell when, into his sixth hour of batting, he became becalmed on 88 and succumbed to his first loose shot, a drive at Jack White which ended in the hands of Emilio Gay at third slip. Yates, a product of the Warwickshire academy, was disappointed to miss out on his second first-class century but could take plenty of satisfaction from having turned an uncertain position for his team into one of control.  

Thomson then arrived to produce the most attractive batting of the match so far, timing the ball beautifully before become the third victim of the persistent Nathan Buck.  

Bresnan reached his ton from 203 balls and, after he was bowled by Rob Keogh, the spinner finally tasting success in his 31st over, Olly Stone punished his former team-mates with a merry unbeaten 36 (30 balls, five fours, one six). 

Day One

England paceman Olly Stone took four wickets as Warwickshire had the better of the first day of the opening Bob Willis Trophy match against Northamptonshire at Edgbaston.  

Northamptonshire, put in, were bowled out for 142 with Stone taking four for 39 against his former team-mates to send out a strong message to England’s selectors that he is fit and firing. 

The visitors then hit back impressively in the final session as Warwickshire dipped to 85 for four but 20-year-old opener Rob Yates  (63 not out, 130 balls, nine fours) stayed solid to take his side to 130 for four at the close. 

A minute’s silence was held before play as a mark of respect for those affected by COVID-19. Players, staff and officials then took a knee to promote inclusivity in cricket. A statement released by the home club said: “Warwickshire CCC is a club for everyone – we aim to be an inclusive and diverse cricket club, which is united in our game’s stance against any form of racism in sport or wider society.” 

After Will Rhodes, leading Warwickshire for the first time, won the toss, his bowlers made early inroads to reduce the visitors to 12 for two. Olly Hannon-Dalby induced Ben Curran to play on and Emilio Gay edged Stone to Rhodes at second slip, offering Stone and Rhodes something else to celebrate, both having been capped before play. 

Ricardo Vasconcelos and Rob Keogh (26, 28 balls) added 37 before the latter had his middle stump plucked out by Ryan Sidebottom. 

From 68 for three at lunch, the visitors were hit by an immediate double blow by Stone in the afternoon session. Charlie Thurston edged to third slip where Bell took a sharp catch and Saif Zaib snicked a rapid outswinger to wicketkeeper Michael Burgess.  

Burgess added two more catches, again off Stone to dismiss Adam Rossington and then to supply debutant Tim Bresnan’s 558th first-class wicket, and first for Warwickshire, to end Vasconcelos’ two-hour defiance at 24 (79 balls, three fours). Sidebottom’s second wicket arrived when Nathan Buck’s quixotic pull landed in the hands of Stone at mid on to leave his side in disarray at 91 for eight. 

Luke Procter pulled Sidebottom for six to herald some resistance and ninth-wicket pair Procter (29 not out, 47 balls) and Ben Sanderson (23, 30 balls) gave the total some respectability with a stand of 49 in nine overs. The revival was terminated when Rhodes turned to spin and Alex Thomson wrapped up the innings with two wickets in his first over back. His fourth ball trapped Sanderson lbw and his sixth bowled debutant Jack White. 

Warwickshire began their reply after tea and, while Yates settled quickly, no one else in the top order reached double figures. Rhodes fell lbw to Sanderson, White produced a fine ball to secure his maiden first-class wicket when he trapped Hain lbw and Buck had Bell and Matt Lamb caught in the slips. 

Twenty-year-old Yates posted a 74-ball half-century though and stabilised the innings along with Michael Burgess (30 not out, 43 balls) in an unbroken stand of 45 up to stumps. 

Match Preview: Warwickshire v Northamptonshire, Bob Willis Trophy

Will Rhodes is anticipating a “very special moment” when he leads Warwickshire out for the first time in competitive cricket tomorrow.

Appointed club captain last winter, Rhodes has had a long wait before the Bears open their Bob Willis Trophy campaign, against Northamptonshire at Edgbaston.

At 11am tomorrow, the moment will come for the 25-year-old, whether he opens the batting or leads the Bears out to field. He will be a proud man.

“To finally lead the Bears out in a competitive game will be a very special moment for me,” Rhodes said. “It has been a long wait and it feels pretty weird having had about eight months of pre-season. We have had a couple of friendlies but now to captain the side in a competitive game will be extra special.

The Northants game is the first of five Bob Willis Trophy group matches for the Bears. There are three groups nationally with the two group-winners with most points qualifying for the final at Lord’s at the start of October.

“It would be great to get to final and play at Lord’s,” said Rhodes. “For non-international players especially, to play a Lord’s final would be amazing, but there is an awful lot of hard work to do to make that happen. You need to win a couple of games early on to set that up and that won’t be easy. Northants are a good side who will present a stiff challenge.

“But we are looking forward to it. The friendlies have gone well and the players are looking in good nick and that gives us selections headaches in all departments which is very pleasant. Everyone looks good with the bat and it’s great to have Belly and Hainy back in the middle order and then we’ve got lots of seamers fit and raring to go and looking for a place in the side.

“We’ve probably got 16 or 17 players challenging for a place in the side so there will be some disappointed players but that’s part and parcel of professional sport.”

Warwickshire County Cricket Club has confirmed that a minutes silence will take place ahead of play to remember those affected by COVID-19, in recognition of NHS staff and in memory of the Club’s late tour guide and Member Rick Coleman.

Following the minutes silence, Bears players and their Northamptonshire counterparts will take the knee in respect of the Club being united in a stance against any form of racism and for its commitment to being an inclusive and diverse cricket club and organisation for everyone.

Watch all the action with our free Live Stream

For 2020, we’re bringing Warwickshire Members and supporters an enhanced live stream service which will be free to watch at edgbaston.com from 11am each day.

The live stream includes commentary from BBC WM and BBC Coventry & Warwickshire.

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