Delport stars at Wantage Road

Northamptonshire v Leicestershire, Second XI Trophy

SCORECARD

REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Northamptonshire played host to Leicestershire at the County Ground, Wantage Road on Wednesday, April 19 for a Second XI Trophy encounter. The hosts emerged victorious despite a magnificent 157 from batsman Cameron Delport, making his first Foxes appearance of the season.

Northants racked up 431-7 in their allotted 50 overs as Steven Crook blasting a matchwinning innings of 115 from just 76 deliveries. 

County replied with 332 all out from 46.1 overs. This was actually 332-9 as Gavin Griffiths was unable to bat as a result of an injury. Delport made a tremendous 157 from 120 balls in a losing cause but the ‘Durban Destroyer’ ensured that the Northamptonshire fielders got plenty of exercise.

On a cloudy overcast morning Tom Wells called correctly and elected to field. On Thursday, June 8 there will be many parliamentary candidates who hope that they have the word elected included in the same sentence as their name. 

Clint McKay took on the captaincy duties upon the players taking the field but did not enter the attack. Openers Josh Cobb and Ben Duckett rattled up their 50 partnership after 5.3 overs. Duckett soon afterwards went to his half-century (7x4,2x6) from 35 balls. Their 100 partnership came up after 11.1 overs. 

Their alliance was brought to an end when Delport, who trapped Cobb (32) lbw. Skipper Alex Wakely joined Duckett, but soon afterwards Duckett (83) was caught by Griffiths at short third man off Rob Sayer when attempting a reverse sweep. 

This brought Adam Rossington to the crease and he forged a 50-run partnership with Wakely from 39 deliveries, Northants being at 185-2 from 23.2. A couple of overs later Wakely (39) went caught by Wells off Dieter Klein, the fielder snaffling a skier at cover. 

An over later Rossington (34) was caught by ‘keeper Lewis Hill off Klein. Crook had entered the fray, and was stealing the bowling and pinching singles at every opportunity - not to mention finding the boundary at regular intervals. 

Saif Zaib (17) was caught behind by Hill off Wells but Crook notched up his 50 (7x4) from 42 balls with the score at 288-5 from 39 overs. The next over brought up a 50 partnership between Crook and Graeme White from 37 balls, Northants about to tee off at 295-5 from 39.3 overs. 

Crook and White posted their 100 partnership from 65 balls when the score reached 343-5 from 44 overs. White went to his half-century (4x4,2x6) from 39 balls. Crook brought up a beautifully crafted century from just 68 deliveries (11x4, 3x6) with the score at 385-5 from 47. 

In the next over Crook and White brought up their 150 partnership from 89 balls with the score at 393-5 from 47.3. There were a couple of wickets for County before the innings came to an end. White (74) from 46 balls went caught and bowled by Delport, and Harry Adair (4) saw red, when he was run out by Klein. Northamptonshire closing on 431-7 with Crook completing his sentence undefeated on 115 from 76 balls and Miles Richardson 0*.  

The home of Northamptonshire CCC always brings back a special memory to me from a day (very) long ago. The day in question was Saturday 26 March 1966, my eighteenth birthday. On that day, well night actually, as it was a 7.30pm kick off, Leicester City played Northampton Town at the County Ground, which was the former home of Northampton Town FC before they moved to Sixfields. 

I attended the match, and stood on the ‘open end’ which was to the right of the Lynn Wilson End as you look out from what is now the pavilion at Wantage Road. The 1965/1966 season was Northampton Town’s one and only season in the top division. The game finished in a 2-2 draw, Mike Stringfellow, and Jackie Sinclair scoring for City (my older reader will remember those 2 flying wingers from yesteryear). 

Looking across to where the football ground used to be, all the memories stored in my mind of that night, in the mists of time, seem to be in black and white. I actually had my first legal pint of beer in what was then The Abington pub, which is on your immediate left as you turn out of the ground at the Lynn Wilson end. It is now however called The County.

Disappointed to say there is no blue plaque on the wall outside of that hostelry to commemorate yours truly downing his first legal pint. 

If Northamptonshire got off to a flyer, Leicestershire’s start was rocket propelled as Mark Pettini and Delport blasted a 50 partnership from just 26 balls. Delport cruised to his half-century (11x4) from a mere 29 balls. The 100 partnership between the openers came up from 51 deliveries. 

The pugnacious Pettini was providing ample support to Delport. The first wicket went down at 114 when Pettini (44 from 27 balls), was trapped in front by Crook. That was as good as it got for County although Delport took on the Northants attack with vengeance, and Aadil Ali chipped in with a half-century late in the innings. 

Delport brought up his hundred (13x4) from 76 balls when the score had reached 192-3 from 26 overs. Neil Dexter (10) had gone caught at mid-on by Richardson off Mohammad Azharullah, and Ned Eckersley (14) went to a great catch by a diving Crook at mid-off. 

Delport and Ali brought up a 50 partnership from 58 balls with the score at 227-3 from 31.3 overs. Just afterwards Delport cruised to his 150 (14x4,3x6) from 116 balls. A great effort from Delport, who had taken on the Northants bowling at every opportunity.

The left-hander’s brilliant innings came to an end when he was caught at long off by Azharullah off Crook with the score at 267-4 off 37.1 overs. There was then a cluster of wickets as County chased a further 165 to win off 12.5 overs. 

Hill (4) was caught behind by Rossington, reverse sweeping off Josh Cobb. Wells (2) went bowled by Graeme White, and Zak Chappell (7) departed in the same manner. Sayer joined Ali, and the latter posted his 50 (4x4, 1x6) from 56 balls.

Ali (57) holed out to Duckett on the mid-wicket boundary off the bowling of Zaib. Klein (5) was bowled by Zaib, bringing the innings to an end as Griffiths was unable to bat, County closing on 332, losing by 99 runs. Northamptonshire 2 points, Leicestershire 0 points.

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