Rain spoils Steelbacks’ Twenty20 opener

Northants v Welsh Dragons (T20), County Ground, Wantage Road, Northampton.'Alex Wakely.
Northants v Welsh Dragons (T20), County Ground, Wantage Road, Northampton.'Alex Wakely.
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Some things don’t come as much of a surprise.

And the weather ruining the Steelbacks’ opening Friends Life t20 outing of the season against the Welsh Dragons can count as one of those.

Only 9.3 overs were possible during which time the home side had moved to a relatively promising 70-3 and although everyone hung around for a while - after all the visitors would’ve only needed to have faced five overs to make a game of it – a restart was never possible.

But the air was full of some sort of promise at the scheduled start time of 6.50pm and it was the Dragons who called correctly at the toss and asked the hosts to bat first.

It may have been a new year and a new competition but it was an inauspicious beginning for the hosts as Rob Newton had his stumps rearranged by James Harris from the sixth ball.

But, and whisper it quietly, a few top order problems may have been solved with the acquisition of Kyle Coetzer.

The Steelbacks, in the time that this reporter has been covering them, have never found a settled partnership to face the new ball in limited overs cricket, but the Scotsman did his cause no harm as he quickly found his stride with a salvo of boundaries.

Coetzer’s fluency was emphasised by Niall O’Brien’s struggles at the other end and when the powerplay overs ended, he had 38 of the 51 that had been accumulated.

The Dragons had introduced spin into the equation as early as the fifth over in the shape of veteran Robert Croft but it was his spinning partner, Dean Cosker, who ended Coetzer’s cameo when he slid one through an intended drive.

O’Brien’s scratchy affair was terminated as he edged Jim Allenby’s first ball to Mark Wallace which brought Cameron White into the fray but his initial offering in a maroon shirt was a single before the forecast rain duly arrived.

And the hope will be for better weather on Sunday for the trip to Taunton although if the Met Office is to be believed, don’t bet your hard earned on it.