Lessons not being learned by Steelbacks

Ed Joyce made 90 for Sussex in their 61-run victory at the County Ground
Ed Joyce made 90 for Sussex in their 61-run victory at the County Ground

The batting was again Northamptonshire’s Achilles heel as they slumped to a second Yorkshire Bank 40 defeat on home soil in the space of a week.

Following a drubbing by Nottinghamshire on Sunday, Alex Wakely’s side were defeated to the tune of 61 runs by Sussex who recovered from an appalling start to open their account in the competition.

At the risk of sounding like a school teacher, the Steelbacks just aren’t learning from mistakes that have been committed time and again.

Soft dismissals, a lack of substantial partnerships and a confidence level that can barely be above zero combined to make a manageable chase look overly difficult and the result was the continuation of a one-day cricket malaise - no wins at home for nearly two years - that shows no sign of being reversed.

In pursuit of the visitors’ 215-7, Stephen Peters walked across a straight one from Chris Jordan after making a bright start but Wakely and Kyle Coetzer threw their wickets away in a soft fashion.

The captain, who makes a habit of finding baffling ways of getting out, limply steered James Anyon to backward point and Coetzer mis-hit an attempted pull to mid-on.

David Sales and Matt Spriegel steadied the ship to some degree only for the former to swat to deep square-leg in Chris Liddle’s second over.

As if in sympathy for what she was witnessing, Mother Nature then decided to intervene with a squally shower which, when play resumed, had reduced the target to 195 from 33 overs.

This doesn’t constitute an impossible task in this day and age of 20-over free-for-alls but it was made somewhat harder when Matt Spriegel lofted Michael Yardy to mid-off a few balls after the resumption.

Ben Duckett’s dismissal a couple of minutes later shortened the odds again on a Sussex triumph and that was confirmed as, a Steven Crook cameo aside, the rest of the order was swept aside.

Earlier in the piece, if you’d watched the encounter with Notts at the weekend, and more specifically Northants’ stint with the ball, you may have been forgiven for thinking you’d arrived at the wrong place if you’d turned up for the start.

Admittedly, it was only a 30-minute spell, but the home side, having looked as blunt as a worn down hacksaw on Sunday, suddenly found their groove.

The welcome appearance of David Willey had something to do with that as he had Luke Wells taken at first slip in the third over and Trent Copeland quickly followed his colleague’s lead by getting rid of Matt Prior.

Rory Hamilton-Brown then had his stumps rearranged by Willey and this left the scoreboard sporting a decidedly sickly-looking total of 12-3.

But the quality of the surface, the same one as used five days previous, was put into perspective by Chris Nash and Ed Joyce who combined in a partnership of 173 for the fourth wicket.

The former, with a combative manner about his play, and the latter who peters along in a languid and rather unobtrusive style, played in an orthodox limited overs manner by picking off the loose stuff and not getting bogged down.

They resurrected the innings to the extent that a score of 240 plus looked on the cards before Joyce flicked Steven Crook to short fine-leg 10 short of three figures.

This slowed things up as the hosts, particularly Copeland who finished with career best List A figures of 5-32, stuck to their task and snared a few late rewards including Nash for 95.