Monday, 11 September 2017

County Ground, Northampton

Northamptonshire v Gloucestershire
County Championship Division Two (Day 1 of 4)

6th August 2017

My weather-affected cricket-watching sojourns continued here at Northampton, if only indirectly, as the rain washed out both Days 3 & 4 of this County Championship match, rendering the engrossing Day 1 I attended meaningless.  Well, mostly so, for there were still those pesky little bonus points to be distributed.

The home side had chosen to bat first, and for the first session looked so utterly in control it appeared for spells the visitors may never succeed in getting anyone out.  Northants reached 84 before Ben Ducket was finally caught in the 14th over, and had stretched their tally to 153-1 at the lunch break

But something clearly changed over the sandwiches and cake: either the pitch or the ball became more bowler-friendly – or perhaps just a good old fashioned tongue-lashing by the Gloucs. bowling coach had the desired effect - but the home lads certainly found runs a whole lot more difficult to accrue during the afternoon session.  Even David Bayne, who had seen his attempts bashed all around the ground in the first session,   

With the result it was the 59th over before the Northants' total had crept up to 200.

Rather more disconcertingly, as the day progressed wickets began tumbling at an alarming rate.  South African Rory Kleinveld in particular was not a happy bunny as he tamely glanced one into the grateful gloves of wicket-keeper Gareth Roderick, as Northants capitulated from a healthy 283-5 to 343 all out, in the space of just 12.1 overs.

Although, strictly speaking, no wickets tumbled at all here today; as every one of the ten home players' dismissals was a catch.  I don't know how unusual such an occurrence is in cricket, but it did make the day feel rather unique.

There are not nearly enough houses around these days with advertisements painted on the walls.

This is just too cool - regretfully not in use (at least I don't think so) on the day of my visit.

Gloucestershire's David Payne opens the day's business, bowling to Ben Duckett 

Robert Newton - Northants CCC

Gareth Roderick - Gloucs CCC

This was the (as the sign states) Northamptonshire CCC Supporters Club.
What a great little build.
I think the Northants County Ground may just have overtaken Grace Road as my favourite cricketing venue.

Kieran Noema-Barnett - Gloucs CCC

The Lynn Wilson Centre.
Lynn Wilson, I learned, was a successful local businessman and former President of the club.

Max Holden - Northants CCC

It always amuses me the different approaches folks take to attending a cricket match.
The chap in the blue observed every ball through his binoculars, 

and meticulously recorded the outcome of each over on his scorecard.
Whilst his neighbour in the white hat rarely lifted his head from his newspaper.

The Spencer Pavilion.
This looked to me to be the oldest structure in the ground.
Was it extant when this was a football ground?

George Hankins sinks to his knees clasping the ball, having caught Max Holden.

Between the sessions I was surprised to note spectators were free to 
wander onto the pitch and inspect the wicket.
So I did the same - not that I had a clue what I looking for.

Panorama of County Ground, Northampton.

Taylor to Keogh (I think).

Gloucestershire captain Phil Mustard.

  Jack Taylor - Gloucs CCC

Rory Kleinveld's dismissal.....

.....caught by Roderick.....

.....for 21 off 17 balls.

Now this chap in blue was an Interesting Individual.  He appeared to hold an encyclopedic knowledge of all things cricket, and of Gloucestershire CCC in particular.  I sat a couple of rows in front of him for a spell, and found his observations more fun than the cricket itself at times.  "Now that shot reminded me of the time Jack Gubbins got himself out on 99 against Kent back in 1982, mistiming a boogler from Rodders McGhee"  That sort of stuff, was kept up incessantly.
He didn't have much time for Northants' Simon Kerrigan apparently, whom he described as a "One Cap Wonder", then a "Rabbit".  He did have the good grace to amend his assertion after the batsman hit three boundaries and then a six in quick succession. I should imagine he would be quite entertaining company.....but not for non-cricket afficionados.

A slightly unorthodox shot by Richard Gleeson

End of play

The Lynn Wilson Centre

Gloucestershire posted 265 in their first innings reply, and had their hosts in trouble on 50/5 at the close of Day 2.  But, as I stated earlier, that was as far as this match progressed.

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