Northamptonshire win by 6 wickets

Despite Kiran Carlson taking four wickets for six runs in 15 balls, a century by Ricardo Vasconcelos helped Northamptonshire to complete a six-wicket victory over Glamorgan in their contest in the Royal London Cup.

Glamorgan made one change to their line-up which lost to the Vikings with James Harris replacing the injured Jamie McIlroy, so it was the usual pairing of David Lloyd and Sam Northeast who opened the batting after the Welsh county had opted to bat first on the worn and parched surface. Lloyd struck the day’s first boundary as he upper-cut Nathan Buck to the vacant third man position but in the second over, Sam Northeast inside-edged Ben Sanderson into the gloves of wicket-keeper Lewis McManus.

8-1 then became 9-2 as Buck bowled Colin Ingram. Kiran Carlson announced his arrival by square-driving Buck for four but three balls later he also featured a catch into McManus’ gloves. With Billy Root as his new partner, Lloyd on-drove Buck for four besides clipping his next delivery to the mid-wicket boundary boards but, with the total on 22, Root departed l.b.w. to a delivery which scuttled through.

Lloyd was then joined by Joe Cooke with the pair stabilizing the innings as the opener drilled Buck through mid-off for four before his new partner biffed James Sales for four through extra-cover. Lloyd then brought up the fifty by cutting Sales for four through point followed next ball by a firm on-drive for another boundary. The leg-spin of Alex Russell was then introduced in tandem with fellow wrist spinner Freddie Heldreich with the latter being swept for four by Lloyd before Lloyd completed his fifty from 55 balls by sweeping Russell, followed by a nurdle through backward point.

Cooke expanded his range of strokes as he drilled Russell through mid-off for four before sweeping Heldreich for four with his show of aggression prompting the return of Buck at the Lyn Wilson End together with Saif Zaib’s left-arm spin at the Pavilion End. The switch worked as Lloyd drilled a ball from Zaib straight back to the bowler, thereby ending the stand which had added 94 in 17.1 overs. Cooke then off-drove Zaib for four but the spinner had the last laugh as in his second over he bowled Cooke as the Welsh county slipped further to 125-6.

Tom Cullen and Andrew Salter then joined forces and quietly accumulated in one’s and two’s, with latter also square-driving Russell for four when the leg-spinner returned to the attack. But with the total on 159 Salter was adjudged l.b.w. to Zaib as Dan Douthwaite made his way to the middle. He began by pulling Heldreich for four followed by a cover-drive against the twirler and then a huge mow to mid-wicket for yet another boundary.

But with the total on 186 Cullen was stumped as he advanced down the wicket to Zaib as the spinner completed a List A best return of 4/23 despite James Weighell also pulling his final delivery for four.
Weighell also straight drove Russell for four but Sales returned and yorked the all-rounder with James Harris coming in at number eleven with the total on 203. Harris square-cut Sales for four but then scooped a ball to short mid-wicket as Glamorgan ended on 221.

The left-handed duo of Ricardo Vasconcelos and Emilio Gay began the Steelbacks chase with a flurry of boundaries. Facing the new ball pairing of Weighell and Harris, the latter was drilled through the offside for a pair of fours by Gay who then twice clipped Weighell through square-leg for further boundaries. Vasconcelos also flicked Weighell to fine-leg for four before driving Harris through mid-off, followed by a rasping square-cut against the same bowler.

Salter entered the attack in the seventh over and was lofted over mid-on by Gay who maintained his assertive approach by also pulling Harris for four as the Steelbacks raced to the 50-mark mid-way through the eighth over. Vasconcelos also straight-drove and swept Salter for a pair of fours. Gay greeted the introduction of Dan Douthwaite into the attack by flicking him to fine-leg before Vasconcelos drilled the all-rounder through mid-wicket.

Gay completed his 50 from 48 balls before Vasconcelos did the same from 58 balls with a sweep against Ingram. Gay then on-drove Salter for four before Vasconcelos off-drove him for another boundary. Gay then off-drove Ingram for four as the target dropped below the 100-mark, before Vasconcelos off-drove and swept the Springbok for successive fours.

With Northants on 132-0 after 21 overs, Carlson entered the attack in tandem with Weighell, who was punched over mid-off for four by Vasconcelos before being pulled by Gay as the 150 came up. Vasconcelos then hit Carlson inside-out over extra-cover for four to complete Northamptonshire’s highest opening stand in List A cricket against the Welsh county set by Michael Hussey and Mal Loye in 2002.

The boundaries continued to flow from Vasconcelos’ bat swatted Cooke to the ropes at mid-wicket followed by a square-cut against the seamer. He then swept Carlson for a pair of fours to complete his hundred from 95 balls but with the total on 188, he lost Gay as the opener miscued a sweep and top-edged the ball to Northeast at short third-man. Will Young opened his account by on-driving Carlson for four but then feathered a ball into Cullen’s gloves as he tried to glance the visiting captain to fine-leg.

Seven runs later, Carlson struck again as he trapped Vasconcelos l.b.w. as Rob Keogh joined Zaib with 23 runs still required. Keogh drove Harris square of the wicket for four before glancing him to fine-leg, before Carlson claimed his fourth wicket as Zaib punched a full toss into Cooke’s hands at mid-off. McManus, the new batter, responded by punching Harris through backward point for four before lofting Carlson for four over long-off. Keogh then scored the winning runs in the 36th over by swatting Carlson for four through mid-wicket as the visiting captain ended with a career-best 4/41 on a ground where he had taken five wickets on his first-class debut.