With all four results still possible going into the final hour, Northamptonshire marked their return to Division One in tense fashion against Gloucestershire last week.

“What a game of cricket.” Northamptonshire Head Coach John Sadler said after play on Sunday.

“Half an hour ago, we felt we were in the box seat to go and win that game. But deep down I know the lads are proud of how they played their cricket this week”.

“At the start of the week, Vasco said about setting the tone about how we’re going to play our cricket and I certainly think we have done that now. We are ready to take this division on.”

Northamptonshire kept up with the chase for most of the afternoon, with Saif Zaib, first innings centurion Rob Keogh and Josh Cobb pushing the rate up.

“Rob Keogh played beautifully, he’s been magnificent, and he bowled well as well”. Sadler said.

“Saif played beautifully too, Cobby had just hit a straight six and if he hits another one there then it’s really in our favour, but he didn’t quite get it and that’s OK.”

It was the fall of two wickets in two balls as Northamptonshire continued to force the issue that prompted the switch from all-out attack to settling for points from the draw.

“It’s fine margins, it’s Division One cricket, but yeah I think once Lewis got out and then Bergy the next ball, I think that was our time to say we don’t want to lose it now. But up until that point, we were so close”.

Despite not coming away with an opening round victory, Sadler was full of praise for his squad that was without overseas signings Matt Kelly and Will Young and missing Luke Procter through illness.

“We had a real good chat at the start of the week about our identity and how we are going to play our cricket. The way we’ve played, spoken, planned and executed this week has been brilliant”.

“Proud would be the absolute word, proud of the team and especially Vasco as well. It’s his first game as captain and I thought he did beautifully, both tactically and also with his players”.

Northamptonshire don’t feature in the second round of fixtures and now have a week off before welcoming Yorkshire to The County Ground on Thursday the 21st of April.

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