Skipper Procter calls on struggling Northants to 'play for pride' in final three matches

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Skipper Luke Procter has called on his Northants team to 'play for pride' in the final three LV= Insurance County Championship matches of the season.

The County are staring relegation from the LV= Insurance Championship Division One in the face after another hugely disappointing performance and defeat at the hands of Lancashire left them rock-bottom and well adrift of safety.

John Sadler's side suffered their fifth defeat by an innings of the season, and their fourth on home soil, as they were turned over by an innings and 26 runs at the County Ground.

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The other innings defeats have come at the hands of Hampshire (twice), Nottinghamshire and Kent, and Northants now haven’t won a first-class game since beating Middlesex on April 19.

Northants skipper Luke Procter (Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)Northants skipper Luke Procter (Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Northants skipper Luke Procter (Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Lancashire needed just 50 minutes to get the five wickets they needed to seal the emphatic victory, with part-time leg-spinner Luke Wells creating havoc as he took all the wickets to fall on the final morning to finish with career-best figures of five for 25.

Hopes in the Northants camp had been high that they could at least dig in and make the Red Rose work for their victory, but they lost their remaining five wickets for just 45 runs once Lewis McManus was dismissed for 24, with Saif Zaib falling shortly afterwards for 45.

It was an all-too-predictable collapse, and with Northants' final three games seeing them travel to fifth-placed Warwickshire and leaders Surrey before hosting second-placed Essex, any prospect of the team beating the drop look pretty non existent.

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“It was a struggling day for us and a struggling week. We've not played some good cricket to be honest," Procter told BBC Radio Northampton. “We’ve only got three batting points all year.

"We've struggled all season with the batting, and it just hasn’t been good enough.

"We have got to get better.

“It’s not for lack of effort. Everyone's putting in, but it just hasn’t been coming off."

And on that testing run-in, the County skipper said: “We’ve got three tough games coming up to be honest, and we’ve got to play for pride.

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"As players we pride ourselves on our performances and hopefully, we can do that and get some good performances in for these last three games.”

The first of those games starts at Edgbaston on Sunday, when Northants tackle a Warwickshire side that was thrashed by an innings and 97 runs by title favourites Surrey on Tuesday.

So will that match offer other players in the squad an opportunity to show that they can do?

"We have a few injuries at the minute with the younger lads, so I don’t know what we are going to do," admitted Procter.

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"I will have to have a look at what we have available, and then we will see what we can go with."

One player who won't be involved at Edgbaston is overseas signing Sam Whiteman who now heads back to Western Australia ahead of the domestic season Down Under.

Procter hinted there could be an overseas signing being line up to replace the left-hander, but was unable to confirm if that would be the case.

Northants will also be hoping that Ricardo Vasconcelos, who missed the Lancashire game with a wrist injury, will be fit and available.