Mixed emotions for head coach Sadler as Northants are denied by Derbyshire

Northants head coach John SadlerNorthants head coach John Sadler
Northants head coach John Sadler
John Sadler admitted to a sense of dejection but also pride in his team's performance as Northants were denied a first Vitality County Championship Division Two victory of the season on a dramatic final day against Derbyshire on Monday.

Facing a victory target of 371 after Emilio Gay, with a stunning 153 not out from 161 balls, and Karun Nair (55) had powered the County to a morning declaration on 301 for three, the home side dug in to rally brilliantly from sliding to 149 for seven at tea.

From looking as if they were heading for certain defeat, they held out for the next 41 overs to finish on 261 for nine and seal the draw, with Zak Chappell going on the offensive to hit 72 from 101 balls, and Anuj Dal blocking his way to 31 not out from 131 balls.

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Two late wickets did give Northants hope, and in the final over of the day Daj did nick a Ben Sanderson delivery, but the ball flew agonosingly between a gap in the six-strong slip cordon and the game was up.

For Northants, Rob Keogh starred with the ball, claiming five for 62 to add to his first innings century, while loan man Liam Patterson-White took three for 58 from 29 overs.

"There's a bit of dejection at the minute," admitted Sadler afterwards.

"When the emotion wears off we'll look back on what's been a great game of cricket and one in which I thought we played superbly from ball one right the way through to the end.

"I thought we deserved to win.

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"It wasn't an easy decision to bat first, it was green and looked like there was a bit of life in that pitch on day one but we thought we'd take the brave option and bat.

"I thought we played beautifully, getting 400 in that first dig was a tremendous effort and other than a shaky start I thought we bowled magnificently all the way through the first innings.

"Then we came out and batted, put the foot down and put them under some serious pressure, scored quick runs to set the game up beautifully and unfortunately didn't quite get over the line.

"We were in a winning position but at the minute the raw emotion feels a little bit like a loss but as that wears off we'll look back and think we've played a great game of cricket."

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The draw does at least mean Northants move up the division two table.

One of four teams yet to win this season, they are now fifth, 19 points adrift of second-placed Middlesex and 26 adrift of leaders Sussex.

Derbyshire remain rooted to the bottom of the table, but their head coach Mickey Arthur was keen to take the positives from his side's performance.

"We spoke about resilience, we spoke about whatever happened we dug deep, and the other thing was that the dressing room really believed we were going to give that a crack," he said.

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"That means a step forward in our dressing room in that we thought we could chase 370 in the last innings.

"The fact that we believed that shows the process is alive. How we went about it however was not scripted the way it should have been, we were slightly reckless between lunch and tea.

"There are some positives out of this, as I said it's a new group, it's a process and we are bedding everything in.

"Our good and our bad is probably still too far apart but we'll keep coming back and I totally believe in that dressing room."

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Northants return to action on Friday when they entertain Yorkshire at the County Ground (start 11am).

The White Rose have endured a poor start to the season, and sit second bottom in the table.

They are without a win, and have lost two of the six matches to date, including this week against Sussex.

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