County pay for losing the key battles

Andrew Hall made a defiant 57 in the County's second innings despite suffering from a leg injury
Andrew Hall made a defiant 57 in the County's second innings despite suffering from a leg injury

“The crucial periods of the game didn’t go our way.”

That’s James Middlebrook’s take on events after Northamptonshire’s eight-wicket defeat to Lancashire in the County Championship.

The 23 points claimed by the Red Rose county have moved them above the County to the top of the second division table and Middlebrook, who made a defiant 76 in the secod innings, believes that the game was lost on the third morning when the visitors added 134 for their last two wickets.

He said: “We were 50 or 60 short of getting a par score and we then had them eight down on a similar score to what we got and they got 130 more runs.

“That was a crucial period of the game and we let it slip.

“We scrapped hard but we had a few passages of play we let them get away from us.”

That left the hosts staring down the barrel and they were making a good fist of their rearguard until Middlebrook was caught on the boundary sweeping, a dismissal which proved to be a turning point.

He added: “We had a bit of authority out there and had taken charge a bot but they kept coming at us, as they did all game.

“Glen Chapple and (Kyle) Hogg are two fine bowlers and (Simon) Kerrigan tied up one end and once he got the breakthrough the floodgates opened which was disappointing.”

But despite the result, Middlebrook is happy with where the team are situated.

He continued: “In March, April time if you had said we’d be second with a gap from third then we would have taken it.

“We’re still strong and are missing three of our top five batsmen and hopefully when we play Gloucestershire next month we’ll be back to full strength.

“We fought hard this game and we need to take that kind of attitude into the final six games.”