Illness and injury cannot hinder battling Northamptonshire as Keogh produces his best

Adam Rossington suffered from  a stomach bug during the game against Derbyshire
Adam Rossington suffered from a stomach bug during the game against Derbyshire

Northamptonshire hero Rob Keogh felt his match-saving innings against Derbyshire in the LV= County Championship was the best of his fledgling career.

The 23-year-old now has four centuries and a double hundred from his 23 first-class appearances, and his 163 not out in Derby was his second ton of the season.

His 266-ball stand of defiance received excellent support from two crocked team-mates in Alex Wakely and Josh Cobb who both took blows to their hand while the latter, along with Adam Rossington, had also been suffering from a stomach bug.

The County’s hopes were hindered further as David Willey struggled with a groin problem.

Yet they battled through to post their third-highest fourth-innings total of all time and their highest to seal a draw.

“That’s probably my best innings with the result we got at the end,” Keogh admitted.

“We’ve had a few injuries and illness hit us over the last couple of days.

“Cobby was fantastic, he really stuck in there and batted very well.

“And then for Wakers to come in with a damaged hand and play the way he did was exceptional.”

A topsy-turvy game throughout, a draw was perhaps a fitting result considering the contribution both sides made to the match.

And Northamptonshire head coach David Ripley added: “We had a good opportunity when they were 100-6 but then a young guy (Matt Critchley) came in, got a hundred and played very well.

“We had a chance to take a handle on the game then - but they would say the same when they had us on the ropes and Josh Cobb and David Willey put together a great stand.

“They did well to grind out a match-winning position and from that point on it was damage limitation for us.

“We tried to make it as hard as possible to get runs for a declaration and I think we did that well.

“The situation meant we had to restrict them and keep the number of overs we had to bat down to a minimum.

“We do bat a long way down, though.”

While the County will leave Derby pleased with the battling spirit and never-say-die attitude, their hosts will have gone home feeling a bit battered.

Derbyshire’s elite performance director Graeme Welch admitted: “The lads are bitterly disappointed and it’s a bit of a cliche but catches win matches and we dropped six of them so we made it hard for ourselves.

“Probably in the end we got what we deserved and although it’s not a loss, it feels like one.”