Tom Taylor put in a strong performance with bat and ball but the Steelbacks fell short in their first Royal London Cup fixture against Glamorgan.
An assured 86 from New Zealand international Hamish Rutherford provided the bedrock for Glamorgan, before some brutal hitting from Cooke and Tom Cullen pushed them to an imposing 295 for six. Despite 65 from Tom Taylor, the target proved beyond Northamptonshire’s reach in their opening game of the tournament.
Rutherford shared a 68-run opening stand with Nick Selman who offered a simple caught and bowled chance to teenage List A debutant, left-arm wrist-spinner Freddie Heldreich. The youngster picked up a second with a superb delivery, turning one back through Steven Reingold’s forward defensive to hit the top of off-stump.
Rutherford combined a mixture of sweetly timed sweeps and cuts with some crunching boundaries and found an ally in skipper Kiran Carlson. The pair took the attack to the spinners, before Ben Sanderson removed both in quick succession.
First Carlson top edged a bouncer straight to Heldreich at fine leg. Then just when Rutherford looked set for a century, he chopped on to his stumps. When Billy Root hooked a short ball from Tom Taylor to a diving Charlie Thurston at deep square leg, Glamorgan had lost had lost three wickets for 23 runs in 5.2 overs.
Cullen broke the shackles with three boundaries off Heldreich before Callum Taylor hit namesake Tom over his head for six. After a stand of 60 in 10 overs, Taylor had a big swing at Taylor and was bowled.
Glamorgan needed a big finish and Cullen and Cooke obliged by taking the attack to experienced seamers Sanderson and Wayne Parnell.
Despite losing Emilio Gay in the opening over, the Steelbacks reply was off to a bright start with Curran and Vasconcelos both consistently finding the boundary. But Skipper Vasconcelos and Rob Keogh both fell inside the first overs to leave Northamptonshire 49 for 3.
Curran and Saif Zaib looked to relieve the pressure, scoring three quick boundaries against rookie duo spinner Steven Reingold and seamer Andrew Gorvin, but the pair, with just one List A appearance behind them, started to exert control, backed up well in the field.
Curran kept busy with a run-a-ball half-century, after starting his account with two straight boundaries. He and Zaib added 65 before Northamptonshire lost three wickets for 18 in four overs. Curran skied a delivery from Cooke which was comfortably caught by the keeper. Then Hogan returned to pick up Thurston who chipped to mid-on before Zaib pulled Cooke to square leg.
Tom Taylor provided some hope for the Steelbacks, the all-rounder looking in good touch with an unbeaten, better than run a ball 65 as he took the chase into the late overs. Despite the aggression from Tom Taylor, a jubilant Cooke bowled Wayne Parnell to end hopes of a late recovery and Northamptonshire were eventually all out for 236 with 5.4 overs remaining.
The side now travel to Scarborough for Game 2 where they take on Yorkshire, before meeting Surrey at The Oval on Friday and returning to The County Ground on Sunday.
Tickets for the 3 remaining home fixtures are available to buy now, along with all 4 days of the 2 remaining LV= Insurance County Championship matches for 2021.