A powerful century from Lewis McManus helped propel the Steelbacks to victory over Bedfordshire in the National Counties showcase fixture at Dunstable.

The keeper-batsman posted 109 in just 103 balls to lift Northamptonshire to 319/8 after winning the toss and electing to bat.

The Steelbacks lost Vasconcelos early to a ball that nipped back sharply off the pitch, but Gay and Zaib were soon into their work. The pair added 117 for the second wicket in just 17 overs, consistently finding the boundary all round the ground.

Gay was aggressor initially, punishing anything straight with a series of flicks through and over the leg side. Zaib put the foot down to overtake his partner though, taking 32 off a pair of overs from James Cronie to reach his half century first in just 42 balls.

Emilio Gay passed the milestone off 45 balls shortly after but both would fall for 62 in the space of two overs, Zaib unlucky to be run out by a deflection at the non-strikers end while Gay picked out long off looking to up the ante further.

Keogh, playing in his native Dunstable and leading the side, offered a low return catch to Cronie for 2 with Miller falling the same way for 16.

McManus was unrestrained though and found a willing partner in James Sales and together they added 98 through the back end of the innings. McManus combined power with clever placement while Sales manipulated the field and ran well for a run a ball 46.

Impressive opening spells from Buck and Sales had Bedfordshire on the back foot early. Homyoon was trapped in front in just the third over while Bates aimed an expansive drive off Sales, only to chop the ball onto his stumps. When Buck nipped one back through Cronies defense Bedfordshire were in trouble, 38/3 at the end of the powerplay.

It wasn’t all going the way of the visitors though with pace bowler Brandon Glover leaving the field in the seventh over after injuring his hand in the field and unable to return, James Sales also absent for the second half of the innings.

Wickets fell at regular intervals through first 25 overs however, the home side never able to build a partnership of substance. Legspinner Alex Russell found success, picking up three in his first spell. Thurstance was bowled off a bottom edge looking to cut while Ballard and Taylor bounce miscued to find the man on the rope.

Former Northamptonshire player James Kettleborough took hold of the chase and made the Bedfordshire innings his own. At the crease from the fifth over he posted his highest score for Bedfordshire to take the chase to the final over. His 192 not out in 149 balls was watchful to start before opening the stops to blast 19 fours and 3 sixes.

He found partners in the lower order but dominated the scoring as a depleted Northamptonshire attack had no answer. Alex Russell drew a false shot from Houghton and a double strike from Saif Zaib had Bedfordshire wobbling at 239 for 9 with 6 overs to go.

But Kettleborough and Evans refused to go down, requiring 18 off the final over which was well closed out by Emilio Gay to see Northamptonshire home by 7 runs.