Coach White accepts Steelbacks were second best in Blast defeat to Yorkshire Vikings

Matthew Breetzke is bowled by Matthew RevisMatthew Breetzke is bowled by Matthew Revis
Matthew Breetzke is bowled by Matthew Revis
"They were maybe a bit smarter, a bit sharper than us today. It happens in this format."

Coach Graeme White felt Northants Steelbacks were off the pace as they suffered a first defeat of the Vitality Blast North Group campaign, going down by 29 runs to Yorkshire Vikings on Sunday.

The County were hoping to complete a hat-trick of wins following their opening victories against Derbyshire Falcons and Notts Outlaws, but it wasn't to be as a Yorkshire side packed full of internationals claimed the honours at a sun-soaked Wantage Road.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

England stars Dawid Malan (41 from 37 balls) and Joe Root (35 from 25), skipper Shan Masood (36 from 17) and Joe Thompson (20 from seven) powered the visitors to 186 for six, with Ravi Bopara the pick of the bowlers with four for 34.

Ricardo Vasconcelos hits a boundary for the Steelbacks against Yorkshire VikingsRicardo Vasconcelos hits a boundary for the Steelbacks against Yorkshire Vikings
Ricardo Vasconcelos hits a boundary for the Steelbacks against Yorkshire Vikings

The Steelbacks were then restricted to 157 for eight in reply, despite the best efforts of Ricardo Vasconcelos (37 from 26) and Bopara (35 from 21) to suffer a first loss of the competition.

And White felt it was one of those days where the Steelbacks weren't quite at their best in any discipline.

“It wasn’t the result we wanted, obviously," said White, who is the club's spin bowling and fielding coach.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"If you look at both innings, we maybe probably gave them 20 too many and then with the bat, we just didn't quite get anybody going with that momentum.

Ravi Bopara once again impressed with bat and ball for the SteelbacksRavi Bopara once again impressed with bat and ball for the Steelbacks
Ravi Bopara once again impressed with bat and ball for the Steelbacks

“You want an over or two where you see that real momentum shift and, to their credit, they played some good cricket.

"They were maybe a bit smarter, a bit sharper than us today. It happens in this format.

"We’ve got to remember, we’re three games in, two wins from three. It’s a long group stage and we're still doing a lot of things really well.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We've just got now a good week to go back, practice, train, get better, get sharper and hit Friday running."

Vikings bowler Dan Moriarty celebrates taking the wicket of Ravi BoparaVikings bowler Dan Moriarty celebrates taking the wicket of Ravi Bopara
Vikings bowler Dan Moriarty celebrates taking the wicket of Ravi Bopara

A major issue for the Steelbacks was the fact the Vikings hammered close to 90 runs in the final seven overs of their innings, having been 100 for four in the 13th, and White said: "That can happen in this game.

"If we're not quite on the money with how we are trying to deliver our skills, you will get punished.

"I think we're big enough to accept that we've probably didn't quite get those plans or executions quite right. And Thompson played well, fair play to him.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"So, I think it's just a reminder that in those phases, in each of these blocks of the innings as they go, you’ve got to be on it, you’ve got to be sharp, in full focus, and your skill levels have got to be really high, because there are players that will do that to us."

For the second home match in a row (they had to have an extra fielder inside the ring for the final 15 balls v Derbyshire), the Steelbacks struggled to bowl their overs within the allotted time.

Things were rushed in the closing stages, and White admitted that is never an ideal situation.

Asked if he felt the players having one eye on the clock diluted their focus in the closing overs, he said: "Yeah, and look, we don't want to be in that situation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We know we've got to be faster and sharper. I think that’s a collective thing, it's not just down to the bowler, it's not just down to the captain.

"As a fielding group, you've got to get moving, you've got to get around, we've got to help these guys at the back end have enough time so they can be thinking clearly and go and deliver their skill."

After three matches in four days, the Steelbacks now have a free week before they return to action with a home game against Worcestershire Rapids on Friday night (7.05pm).

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.