Support for Steelbacks is 'absolutely tremendous', says Sadler after sell-out success

Emilio Gay impressed for the SteelbacksEmilio Gay impressed for the Steelbacks
Emilio Gay impressed for the Steelbacks
John Sadler says the support Northants Steelbacks received on Friday night against Lancashire Lightning was 'absolutely tremendous'.

It was a sell-out in scorching conditions at the County Ground, and the Steelbacks responded with a seven-wicket Vitality T20 Blast success against table-topping Lightning.

Lancashire were limited to just 153 for seven after opting to bat, and Northants made easy work of the reply, storming to victory with 3.4 overs to spare.

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And Sadler, who took over as County head coach from David Ripley last year, was so pleased to see such great support for his side.

"It's amazing to be honest," Sadler said.

"This is my third year here and the last two years have been Covid-struck so it's the first time I've been on the home side with a full house, and it was absolutely tremendous.

"We're second in the league, it's absolutely red-hot and it's a sell-out.

"It's tremendous.

"Ray (Payne), our chief exec, actually said he hasn't known it this busy since the 2016 campaign (when Northants won the T20 competition).

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"It's been fantastic and make no mistake, the lads really thrive off that 12th man of the crowd and them backing us.

"It's great."

Lancashire struggled with the bat after opting to try to set a total as Ben Sanderson and Graeme White both took two for 28.

Emilio Gay (30), in for the injured Chris Lynn, then got the reply off to a solid start before Ben Curran (50) and Josh Cobb (57) carried their side towards the victory line.

"Our bowlers were magnificent in the powerplay and throughout," Sadler said.

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"All three of our seamers were outstanding all the way through the innings.

"The fielding was pretty good, there were a couple of bits we could have been sharper on and we're priding ourselves on the fielding at the moment, but there was some good stuff.

"The energy was good, we attacked the ball on the outfield, the sky was tough because there was no clouds but on the whole the fielding was pretty good, though we're striving to get better.

"With the batting, I thought we made it look pretty easy in the end.

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"Emilio was fantastic coming in for his first game of the tournament to replace Lynny. It was brilliant the way he played with that freedom and positivity.

"Emilio played great, played strong shorts and he hasn't played much white-ball cricket, but he's upskilled his white ball stuff in the winter and he scored 100 in the second team a couple of weeks ago.

"Benny Curran played brilliantly, controlled the innings, took responsibility and it was a shame he wasn't there at the end really but another 50.

"Cobby took the game away from them really.

"It's as close to a complete performance as you can get without getting too excited, but there's bits we can get better at so that's the good thing really."

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The Steelbacks now head to Worcestershire Rapids on Saturday afternoon and there is a chance Australian opener Lynn could play in that game.

Sadler said: "He was close to playing tonight, but the sensible option was not to risk him. The last thing we wanted to do was to push him too far and put him back a week or 10 days because that could be quite costly.

"It's the smart option for him not to play tonight and we'll assess him on a day-by-day basis now.

"I don't think he's too far away but he's not too far away."