Vasconcelos says Northamptonshire have the quality to compete in top flight

Ricardo Vasconcelos feels Northamptonshire have already shown they have the quality to compete in LV= Insurance County Championship Division One.

By Jeremy Casey
Friday, 11th March 2022, 10:01 am
Updated Friday, 11th March 2022, 10:03 am
Northants batsman Ricardo Vasconcelos
Northants batsman Ricardo Vasconcelos

The County will this summer play their first season in the top flight of English cricket since 2014, taking their place in the 10-team division alongside the likes of reigning champions Warwickshire, Essex, Somerset, Surrey and Yorkshire.

Promotion was won by Northants way back in 2019, but their promotion was put on hold by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the past two seasons seeing the summer played out in a conference system.

But in 2021, Northants were paired against a clutch of division one teams in their six-team group in the shape of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Surrey and Kent, and they made a pretty decent fist of it on the whole.

There were some struggles at times, particularly with the bat, but there were a lot of very strong performances as well.

The County lost out narrowly to Yorkshire twice - by an agonising one run at Headingley - pushed Lancashire to the final hour of play at Old Trafford, drew twice with Kent and also beat Surrey in a thriller at Wantage Road.

And Vasconcelos, who topped the County’s batting charts with 845 runs at 37.73, believes that bodes well for the 2022 campaign.

“Division One is obviously something we thought we were going to get in 2020, but we are getting our chance now and hopefully we can give it a good crack,” said the 24-year-old.

“I believe, with our squad, that we can definitely stay up, and hopefully put in a good challenge.

“I am definitely looking forward to it and testing ourselves against some new opposition that I haven’t played against.

“It is hopefully going to be a good summer.”

And he added: “If you look at our recent history against some of the teams in the division, I think we can compete.

“We pushed Yorkshire all the way twice last season in really close games, we beat Surrey at home and even in the loss at Lancashire, the game went down to the wire.

“So I think we definitely have the squad to do it, and I think we have made good additions as well.

“Will Young looks a really good player, and hopefully Matt Kelly can come in and bowl quickly and knock a few over.

“We have the squad to compete, we just have to play to our potential and we will definitely have a shot.”