Half centuries from Josh Cobb, Alex Wakely and Adam Rossington, backed up by some slow left-arm guile from Graeme White, helped Northamptonshire Steelbacks to a 49-run victory over Notts Outlaws at Market Warsop in the Royal Lodon One-Day Cup.
Northants posted 339 for nine against the defending champions, with Cobb top-scoring with 78 from 90 balls, whilst Wakely made 72 and Rossington added 50.
Harry Gurney, with two for 57, returned the pick of the bowling figures for Notts, with Jake Ball and Luke Fletcher also capturing two victims apiece.
In reply, Notts failed to string any significant partnerships together and were bowled out for 290 with 3.4 overs remaining.
Steven Mullaney followed up Thursday’s 70 against Lancashire with an innings of 71 but no-one else made a half century. Graeme White claimed three for 63 against his former county.
At the start of the day, having been put in by Mullaney, Northants were able to build useful stands, almost at will, on a good track, with a lightning fast outfield.
After Ball, playing on his home club ground, had removed Ben Duckett for 19, the home side came under pressure as Richard Levi, Cobb and Wakely took the score beyond 200 with 17 overs still to be bowled in the innings.
Cobb, who scored 56 against Leicestershire Foxes on Thursday, hit seven fours and three majestic sixes before hitting Billy Root’s off-spin out to Ross Taylor at deep square leg.
Wakely, passing 50 for the first time this season, also hit two maximums before being yorked by Fletcher, after a fourth wicket stand of 65 with Rossington.
In the quest for quick runs, over the closing overs, Steven Crook twice cleared the ropes as he sped to an unbeaten 45 from just 28 deliveries to put the target out of reach.
The Outlaws lost four wickets inside the first 20.1 overs of their reply, including that of Riki Wessels, who made from 47 from 54 balls.
White’s left-arm spin tore the heart out of the Notts middle order, removing Taylor and Samit Patel – before adding the prized scalp of the Outlaws captain to his list.
Mullaney had reached his 50 from 47 balls, with six fours and a six and was keeping his side in contention until adjudged to be lbw when sweeping across the line.
Billy Root made 36 and Fletcher plundered 29 from only 20 balls but his side’s race had been run long before then.
The victory not only secured two points but also brought an end to a dreadful sequence of results for Northants, who hadn’t won in Nottinghamshire in any competition since 2003.
Jake Ball (Notts – a former playing member of Welbeck CC, whose home ground the match was played on)
“It’s been really nice today apart from the result. I think the ground is looking immaculate and the groundsman produced a very good pitch out there, so we can’t grumble about that.
“We were just beaten by a better team on the day.
“During the last six overs of our chase we were level with them but they had the wickets in hand in their innings. As Fletch showed right at the end the boundaries are reachable and it’s a good deck but we just didn’t keep enough wickets in hand.
“It’s going to be a tight league, the games come thick and fast – we play Wednesday, Friday and Sunday this week, so bey the end of that we’ll know better where we are.”
David Ripley, Northants First Team Coach, spoke about his sides performance after the match.
“I think it’s all about how we played today. It was tight towards the end with 100 needed from the last 10 overs. That was doable because Mullaney was playing well and we might have lost a tight game. If we had we would have still been a lot happier going hope because it was the level of performance that was much improved today. Our batters took some criticism after the last game, We had an honest chat about where we were and they dusted themselves off and played pretty well, with most people contributing.”