76 for Ricardo Vasconcelos in Thursday’s fifty over friendly capped off a productive three days at Trent Bridge for Northamptonshire.

The squad travelled to Nottingham on Tuesday and played nearly 300 overs of red and white ball cricket on a newly developed ‘hybrid’ pitch, which is a combination of natural grass and yarn.

“It’s been a great few days, the weather was great and it’s good to be back outside” Assistant First Team Coach Phil Rowe said.

“It was like a middle of the season pitch rather than early season pitch which was good, it was tougher to get the ball to nip around and it made discipline more important.

No-one in England’s ever played on one before and it behaved really well, it was a good practice pitch.”

The scorecards certainly suggest the hybrid pitch performed well, with 1,500 runs scored and a number of Northants batsmen passing 50. Curran (59), Procter (54 and 50*), Vasconcelos (76) and Cobb (79) all raised the bat, with Keogh reaching 40 on two occasions.

“It was nice to get some time out in the middle before the season starts, get a bit of confidence going into the first few games and carry that on throughout the season” Vasconcelos said of his performance on Thursday.

“We’re all positive, there’s a lot of positives to take out of the games, everyone’s looking forward to getting going” he said.

Head Coach David Ripley was also pleased with what he saw at Trent Bridge.

“People had time in the middle and bowlers got overs in their legs so all in all we had a really good three days.

There were quite a few lads who had a good three days, the next game isn’t far away so you want guys coming back feeling like their getting into a bit of knick” he said.

“It’s about sharpening the pencil a little bit, the Middlesex game is looming and it’s perhaps the last chance for lads to really make sure they get their name on the team sheet.”

Cricket returns to The County Ground this weekend with a three day warm-up match against Durham MCCU starting on Sunday March 29th ahead of the first Specsavers County Championship fixture against Middlesex on April 5th. See all 41 days of scheduled cricket at The County Ground this summer with a season ticket, grab yours online.