Northamptonshire off to a promising beginning

Glamorgan versus Northamptonshire
Glamorgan versus Northamptonshire

‘Let’s make a good start’ was the message being preached by Northamptonshire in the build-up to the season opener against Glamorgan in Cardiff.

And while one good day doesn’t make a convincing case for heralding the breaking of a new dawn, what it did offer was particularly encouraging.

Glamorgan versus Northamptonshire

Glamorgan versus Northamptonshire

The bowling was, in the main, incisive with opponents willing to play ball and the batting had a real sense of purpose that augurs well for the weeks ahead.

When the forecast rain arrived a few hours later than anticipated, it was the visitors who occupied the box seat, 26 runs in arrears on 108-3 with Stephen Peters still there on 60.

The day couldn’t have gone much better for the new captain who called correctly on a day that was made for bowling and then produced the most fluent batting of proceedings.

He was given a good rap on the knuckles by the aggressive Michael Hogan, who looks as though he will do a good job for the Welshmen, but that failed to knock him off his stride.

Glamorgan versus Northamptonshire

Glamorgan versus Northamptonshire

The dismissals of David Sales and Alex Wakely in successive balls, both to Mike Reed, created the potential for alarm but that was weathered by Peters and Rob Newton.

The latter survived a hearty appeal for caught behind off the same bowler and the pair will be charged with the task of laying the foundations for a decent lead on the second day.

Earlier in the day, when you insert the opposition, at the very least early inroads need to be made.

That is what came to pass as Ben Wright edged behind off David Willey in the third over but what initially followed wouldn’t have been in the plan.

Will Bragg and Stewart Walters progresses serenely enough and looked in little trouble.

The odd ball kept a fraction low and there was, as will always be the case so early in the year, a bit of seam movement, but what was being served up didn’t unduly threaten.

But with the scoreboard ticking over spasmodically rather than at a rate of knots, the hosts weren’t getting ahead of the game and a glut of wickets quickly levelled things up before allowing the County to sneak in front at the interval.

In the space of 17 deliveries, Bragg sloppily chipped Steven Crook to square leg, Walters was hit in front by Andrew Hall and Marcus North edged the Australian to the South African at first slip to turn a respectable 58-1 into a sickly 60-4.

The shift in fortunes continued into the afternoon session as the hosts scratched around unconvincingly.

Murray Goodwin received a good delivery from Willey which he could only edge to David Murphy and Jim Allenby became Trent Copeland’s first Northants wicket when he was adjudged leg before.

Mark Wallace and Graham Wagg amounted to what was a comeback of sorts with a flurry of shots but that soon came to an end when Wallace shouldered arms to Crook and had his bails disturbed.

Murphy then denied Crook a fourth victim when he made a mess of a regulation chance to his right - Dean Cosker the recipient - but that made little difference as the tail was mopped up without undue fuss.

Cosker didn’t make the most of his good fortune as Hall got one through his defences, Wagg edged to third slip to give Crook a fourth and Hogan mishit the former captain to mid-on with the score at a paltry 134.