It ended in a gripping afternoon and a match that went down to the wire, but a bizarre morning session on Day 4 raised some eyebrows at Edgbaston.
Having lost parts of Day 1, 2 and all of Day 3 to the weather, the match against Warwickshire was meandering to a draw before being reignited by an agreement between the two sides before play on the final day.
Northamptonshire needed a chance at victory in the fixture, with a draw offering little value on the Division One table. Head Coach John Sadler explained the discussions that took place to ensure this was a possibility going into the final day.
“It was a tough task for Proccy [Skipper Luke Procter] to try and negotiate with their dressing room, they wanted a lot less and we wanted a lot more in that run chase.” Sadler said.
“But we didn’t have any cards to play, our over-rate was down and time was of the essence to get the result we needed so we had to take it.”
The outcome meant the morning session became a formality, first, Northamptonshire needed to erase their over-rate deficit before batting towards an agreed total by the lunch break.
“The first session of the day was not what anybody wants to see at this level, we know that, but the game made up for it in the second and third sessions. That’s just what you need to do in these situations to actually make a game of it, stick it in auto-pilot for a while.”
“I know it probably looked a bit bizarre to people watching on, them opening the bowling with a wicket-keeper and our lads just patting it around, so I get why there were a few raised eyebrows.”
Hassan Azad and Emilio Gay added 72 in 22.3 low intensity overs, advancing the lead to 175 before declaring to bring about an early lunch with 60 overs remaining in the day.
The resumption saw a dramatic first hour with Ben Sanderson claiming a hat-trick in his opening spell and Warwickshire tumbling to 24/5. Regular wickets continued to fall throughout a tense afternoon but Warwickshire ultimately secured victory by 2 wickets in the final half an hour.
“I’m really proud of our lads. They fought and fought and fought and Ben bowled magnificently. He’s like a magician when he bowls like that, there’s nobody better. We were behind the eight-ball and the odds were against us but all of a sudden we made them panic and put them under some serious pressure.
“For us to get so close to pulling that off I think was exceptional from the lads.”
“Yes, it’s frustrating and really disappointing, a great game for the neutral, but ultimately we felt like we could have won the game which is why the players are devastated.”
Northamptonshire now head to south London to face Surrey.