A third wicket stand of 239 in 46 overs by Ricardo Vasconcelos (185*) and Rob Keogh (126) helped Northamptonshire to a seven-wicket victory on the final day of their LV=Insurance County Championship match against Glamorgan at Wantage Road as the home side successfully chased a target of 355 in a minimum of 79 overs.
Close of Play Report
With 36 overs remaining after tea, Northants needed a further 157 runs to win, with Glamorgan requiring a further eight wickets as Ricardo Vasconcelos resumed unbeaten on 103 having already added 116 in 24 overs with Rob Keogh for the third wicket. Callum Taylor and James Harris continued the bowling duties with the home batsmen scampering a series of singles before Keogh twice dispatched Taylor through extra-cover, whilst Vasconcelos twice nurdled Harris to the third man boundary.
Andrew Balbirnie’s gentle off-spin was also introduced as Glamorgan sought to take pace off the ball on the turgid surface. After a couple of economical overs, Keogh drilled the Dubliner through extra-cover for four. James Weighell had another spell at the Lyn Wilson End and was slashed to third man for four by Keogh to take the target below the 100-mark.
Michael Hogan also returned for another salvo at the Pavilion End and was nonchalantly flicked to mid-wicket by Vasconcelos before the seamer’s next delivery was on-driven by the opener. Keogh then reached his hundred by square-cutting Weighell for four – his 15th boundary from his 109th delivery – before Vasconcelos off-drove Hogan for another boundary. Keogh brought up the double-century stand in 38 overs by swatting Hogan through backward point and then driving up through extra-cover as the target for the home side became 65 from 21 overs.
Keogh then square-cut Weighell for four before Callum Taylor and David Lloyd returned to the fray with Vasconcelos reaching his 150 by straight driving the spinner for six. Keogh then cover drove Taylor for four before Vasconcelos hit the first ball of the final hour to long-on for four. But with the total on 321 Keogh edged Lloyd into Cooke’s gloves, with the wicket-keeper standing up to the wicket end the stand which had added 239 in 46 overs, and just three short of Northamptonshire’s best third wicket stand against Glamorgan set at Sophia Gardens in 1983 by Wayne Larkins and Allan Lamb – another South African and Bedfordshire combination like today’s pairing.
Luke Procter duly joined Vasconcelos who square-drove Lloyd for four before Procter clipped Harris to square-leg. Vasconcelos then pulled and on-drove Lloyd for a pair of fours before Procter clipped the all-rounder to fine-leg for four as the home side reached their target with 38 balls remaining with Vasconcelos unbeaten on a career-best 185 as Northamptonshire completed their third highest winning total in Championship cricket.
Northants began the afternoon session on 54-0, needing a further 301 runs to win, and Glamorgan seeking ten wickets as Callum Taylor and James Harris resumed the bowling duties. Ricardo Vasconcelos began by square-driving and leg-glancing Harris for a couple of fours as well as edging the on-loan seamer just short of David Lloyd at second slip to complete a 50-ball half-century. Ben Curran then lofted Taylor to long-on for four but the bowler responded next ball by trapping the opener l.b.w.
81-1 then became 82-2 as Charlie Thurston edged James Weighell to first slip where Andrew Balbirnie completed a shoulder high catch. Rob Keogh began with an off-driven four against the spinner before clipping the seamer to long-leg for another boundary. Vasconcelos also pulled Weighell for four before cover-driving Michael Hogan when he returned to the attack at the Pavilion End.
Keogh also on-drove Hogan for a crisply-struck boundary before Vasconcelos clipped Weighell to the mid-wicket ropes, followed by a flick to square-leg against Hogan. Keogh also rattled the boundary boards as he flicked Weighell to mid-wicket and fine-leg. Dan Douthwaite then entered the fray and was savagely cut through backward point by Keogh. After a series of quick singles, Vasconcelos repeated the stroke a few overs later against Douthwaite and was nearly caught on the boundary’s edge as the target dropped below 200.
There was no risk involved though to the next boundary as Keogh square-cut Douthwaite before off-driving Hogan for four to complete a 47-ball fifty. Taylor and Harris returned to the attack as the tempo of the Northants innings dipped shortly before tea with the sequence of economical overs ending as Vasconcelas skewed Harris to third man for four before completing his hundred, from 121 balls, by square-cutting Taylor.
Glamorgan began the fourth and final day of this contest at Northampton on 205-4 with a lead of 248 runs with Kiran Carlson, after a delightful cameo in the closing overs yesterday, and captain Chris Cooke keen to further extend the lead this morning prior to a declaration.
With Adam Rossington still nursing a damaged digit, Ricardo Vasconcelos continued as the stand-in captain whilst Harry Gouldstone, Northants’ reserve wicket-keeper, took over behind the stumps. Gareth Berg and Ben Sanderson resumed the bowling duties as Carlson unfurled another sublime cover drive against the former to register the day’s first boundary prior to flicking the latter to the ropes at long-leg.
Carlson also lofted Berg for a straight four, whilst Cooke began by accumulating in a series of singles with two of the home fielders wearing face-covering snoods in the chilly weather. He then opened his shoulders to drill Sanderson to long-off for four before pulling Berg for a massive six over mid-wicket. The lead then went past 300 as Cooke scythed Sanderson to mid-wicket before later in the over pulling the bowler to the fine-leg boundary.
Carlson completed his second fifty of the game – from 69 balls – besides bringing up the century partnership by cover-driving Berg to deep extra-cover before Wayne Parnell returned to the attack and was dispatched by Carlson in the same direction. Nathan Buck also replaced Berg at the Lyn Wilson End and saw Brandon Glover, the substitute fielder drop a skier from Cooke at square, but he was not to be deprived of a wicket as next ball Carlson carved a ball to third man where Sanderson completed the catch and departed for 59.
280-5 saw Callum Taylor join Cooke and he began by running Buck down to third man for four, before Cooke clipped Parnell to long-leg for four en route to his second half-century of the game, from 62 deliveries shortly before the declaration came on 311-5 with Glamorgan having added a cavalcade of 106 runs this morning from 15 overs.
This left Northants a target of 355 from a minimum of 79 overs including forty minutes batting before lunch. Ben Curran began by twice clipping Michael Hogan to the mid-wicket ropes before Vasconcelos cover-drove the evergreen Australian for another four. Vasconcelos also struck three successive deliveries from David Lloyd, who again shared the new ball, to fine-leg and extra-cover for further boundaries. The left-hander also drove Lloyd through extra-cover as the home side continued to make a breezy start before James Harris and Callum Taylor briefly bowled in tandem before the lunch interval.