Ben Sanderson believes there are plenty of positives to take from the Club’s mixed start to the Bob Willis Trophy.

Sanderson claimed 11 wickets across the opening two fixtures, including match figures of 9/89 in the loss to Somerset and despite results not going the Club’s way, Sanderson felt there was a lot to take away from both games.

“I think we’ve been excellent as a bowling unit in both games, everyone has bowled good areas and with good consistency as well.” Sanderson said.

“Personally, I’ve been very pleased with how I’ve bowled so far, especially against Somerset last week. I didn’t feel quite right against Warwickshire, I felt like I was lacking a bit of match fitness but everyone is in the same boat in these strange times. You can do loads of fitness and gym work, bowl for hours in the nets and feel great. But that first proper game, it’s just a totally different thing.”

Northamptonshire has fielded a new look attack so far after Head Coach David Ripley revealed he saw the Bob Willis Trophy as an opportunity to use the depth of his squad. A few fresh faces in the bowling group has made Sanderson’s contribution vital, though the Club’s leading wicket-taker for the past 3 seasons was quick to heap praise on his teammates.

“I’ve not felt added pressure, no. The two new lads, Jack [White] and Brandon [Glover] have been brilliant and we’ve got a good mix this year with experience, pace and skill. It’s a pleasure to be a part of that group.

“Captain Jack has some great skills moving the ball both ways which he showed off against Warwickshire.”

Asked about the origins of the ‘Captain Jack’ name, Sanderson offered a simple explanation.

“He came back after lockdown looking like Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean with his head band and terrible little beard and he’s a little bit weird like him too, in a good way of course.

“Brandon was outstanding this week against Somerset, he bowled good pace and challenging areas. We call him the camel for some reason, but you’ll have to ask Keezy [Rob Keogh] why that is. Both lads have been great in the dressing room though and they both had great debuts.”

Despite his own impressive match figures against Somerset

“The score doesn’t really show it, but there are plenty of positives to take away from the game. The bowlers bowled well in both innings especially with it been the first run out for most of them.

Our young batters had a pretty tough time of it, but it was a bowler friendly wicket against one of the best bowling attacks on the county circuit. We showed some grit and determination at times but on a pitch where you’re going to get a ball with your name on it it’s tough. It’s been a good taste of Div 1 cricket the first two game and it’s showed us the level we need to be at next year to compete regularly.”

Northamptonshire return to action in Game 3 of the Bob Willis Trophy tomorrow against Worcestershire at The County Ground.