“Better by far you should forget and smile than you should remember and be sad.” – Christina Rossetti (1830 – 1874) British poet.
Well, I said that it wasn’t going to be easy… Disappointing? Chastening? It’s difficult to find words to describe the early part of the season. There have been some highlights, Rob Keogh’s early season form, including a century at Canterbury, stand in skipper Sam Whiteman ‘s battling hundred to lead the team to safety at Taunton and of course the convincing Championship win over Middlesex at the County Ground. Much of the rest had not been very memorable (at least for the right reasons) including several very poor batting displays. However, there is still time for Northamptonshire to pull things round. The matches against Kent and Middlesex will be vital. As I said, it’s not going to be easy….
I’m not intending to mention the start of the T20 Blast here as I am aiming to cover it in full in the next West Stand Story.
Several women’s matches are scheduled to take place at Northampton this season. Please support these if you can especially as I believe that all are included in your season ticket. The standard of women’s cricket, indeed of women’s sport continues to improve apace.
Please continue to support us we return to the Signalbox after our T20 ‘sabbatical ‘. Not only do we have the Bookstall, but we also have both our annual raffle and Tombola coming up in the second half of the season. Let’s make this a successful season off the field.
Australian pace bowler Lance Morris was unable to join Northamptonshire for his planned County Championship stint in May due to a back injury. Instead, Jordan Buckingham a 23-year-old right-arm fast medium bowler from South Australia made his debut in the County Championship match at Taunton. Buckingham recently made his Australia A debut against New Zealand.
Former Northamptonshire captain Stephen Peters has joined the Club as a non-executive director and will chair the Cricket Strategy Committee. He replaces Nigel Felton who had been in the position since 2007.
21-year-old spinner Alex Russell has signed a contract extension with Northamptonshire until the end of the 2024 season. Gus Miller has also signed an extension until the end of next year. Rob Keogh has also signed a new contract which runs until the end of the 2025 season. Keogh originally joined Northamptonshire as a 15-year-old.
Northamptonshire’s Jodi Grewcock hit 69 for Sunrisers against Southern Vipers in the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy at Southampton on her professional debut.
The County Ground will host the Second ODI between England Women and Sri Lanka on 12th September. NCCC season ticket holders can attend this match. This fixture was not on the original list for the season but has come about due to a necessitated slight rescheduling of this series.
Former NCCC Honorary Treasurer Tom Baughen has died at the age of 92. He joined the Club’s committee in 1977, acting as Treasurer between 1987 and 2000 when he retired from the committee.
Andrew Radd has added to his long list of Northamptonshire cricket publications by producing Cricket Grounds of Northamptonshire. This book is currently being reprinted by the ACS due to high demand. When this has been completed it will be available for £12.
My apologies that in the April issue I didn’t state which County Brandon Glover had signed a two-year contract with- it is Durham.
ALBERT LIGHTFOOT 1936 – 2023
Former Northamptonshire all- rounder Albert Lightfoot has died at the age of 87.
Lightfoot had a long Northamptonshire career, making his debut in 1953 and staying with the county until the end of the 1970 (his Benefit Season). He also acted as Head Groundsman between 1973 and 1978.
Initially seen as a bowler his batting developed and his maiden first-class century helped Raman Subba Row (300) add a record 376 for the sixth wicket against Surrey at The Oval in 1958.
Unfairly he is best remembered for failing to take a run off the last ball of the 1961 match against the Australians which would have given Northamptonshire their first victory over the Aussies. This was also the year when he received his county cap.
In total Albert Lightfoot appeared in 290 first class matches for Northamptonshire (11,837 runs @ 27.52, 167 wickets @ 35.80 and 160 catches) and a further 31 limited overs appearances (474 runs @ 18.96, 1 wicket and 9 catches)
If you haven’t done so already, the next time that you are at the County Ground take a look at the newly redeveloped Memorial Garden. You’ll find it on the Abington Avenue side of the ground situated in the corner backing on to The Tavern.
Thanks are due to John Groves who has played a significant part in both the design and the spade work (literally) in this project. He has also been instrumental in its financing and in procuring sponsorship.
There is also an opportunity for individuals to contribute to the cost of the garden by sponsoring one of the 50 roses that have been planted there: either in memory of someone or as a straight donation. This can be done through the Supporters’ Club shop at any County Championship or 50 overs game. The cost is £15 per rose.
Additionally, there is the possibility of having a small plaque commemorating a loved one placed on the inside of the fencing surrounding the garden. The cost for this is £25. Again, you can do this through the Supporters’ Club shop or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org providing the details you wish to appear on the plaque and the payment. The club will do the rest.
Above all the garden is a place to remember. To sit and reflect as you recall those with whom you have shared an enjoyment of the game of cricket over the years, in particular around Northamptonshire cricket, and who’s company is greatly missed. Do make the most of it. It is there for you.
ACT OF REMEMBRANCE – Sunday 20th August
Prior to the start of our Community Day game (the One Day Cup match against Derbyshire), there will be a minute’s applause in honour of those supporters and servants of the club who have died during the previous 12 months. During that time their names will displayed on the scoreboard.
If you know of someone who’s passing you think should be acknowledged in this way, please let us have their name and details (i.e., whether supporter, life member, etc).
This can be done in person at the Supporters’ Club shop or by emailing our chaplain directly at email@example.com.
NUMBER 218 REMEMBERED- HAROLD WALKER
Harold Walker was born at Desborough on 12 June 1918.
In 1947 Dennis Brookes’ selection for the MCC against the South Africans gave Walker the opportunity to open the innings for Northamptonshire against Essex at Valentine’s Park, Ilford. Sadly, it was not a chance that he could grasp, scoring just 1 and 7 In what was to prove his only County Championship match. The match actually ended in a tie.
He died at Kettering on 12 November 2000.
Northamptonshire began their Championship campaign against Glamorgan at Newport. Winning the toss Northants inserted the Welsh side and dismissed them for 138 with James Sales taking 4-33. W Masojada top scored with 43 as a 56-run lead was gained. Glamorgan were then bowled out for just 80 with Gus Miller taking 4- 21 and Sales 3-12. Just one wicket was lost and just 26 balls taken in securing the victory.
In a friendly at Loughborough University Alex Russell caused the home side to collapse from 220 for 4 to 249 all out by taking 6-10. Both Harry Gouldstone (133) and Saif Zaib (103) hit centuries in a total of 451 for 5 declared. The home side easily batted out the last day of this three-day match reaching 369-4.
First eleven calls meant that Northamptonshire fielded a total of 16 players across the match against Somerset at Dunstable. On the first day the visitors were dismissed for 223 with six bowlers sharing the wickets. Northants gained a slender 3-run lead with Justin Broad (48) top scoring. Somerset then amassed 443 in their second innings to leave Northants a victory target of 441. They could manage only 113.
Dunstable was also the venue for 50 overs friendly against the Netherlands on Coronation Bank Holiday Monday. Rain actually reduced the match to 35 overs and Broad top scored with 98 in a total of 223 for 6. The Dutch team made 127 for 8 in 24.3 overs when bad light ended the match. Northants were victors by 55 runs on DLS.
The pair of T20 matches between the two teams scheduled again at Dunstable three days later were both abandoned.
Northamptonshire returned to action with a pair of T20 matches against London Schools at Northampton. In the first Schools made 162-7. In reply Northants were 4 for 2 before Saif Zaib (113* off 47 balls) hit an unbeaten century securing a seven wicket win with 28 balls. W Masojada (72*) top scored in the second match as Northants made 199-3. In reply the schools were contained to 136-6.
After these friendlies Northants faced Warwickshire at the Edgbaston Community Sports Ground in the T20 competition. The home side compiled 232 for 4 in the first match and in reply Northants reached only 154-8 with David Willey (79) playing a lone hand. J Broad (71) top scored but Northants were bowled out for 151 in the second match. Warwickshire reached their target in the 14th over bit lost seven wickets doing so.
Kidderminster was the venue for the next pair of T20 matches against Worcestershire.
Chris Lynn (93) top scored as Northants reached 232 for 3 in the first match. David Willey took 3-48 as Worcester were contained to 194-8. The second match saw Worcestershire collapse from 103for 4 to 130 all out Freddie Heidrich taking 3-19. Emilio Gay hit 61 and Josh Cobb an unbeaten 47 as Northants claimed an early 8 wicket victory in just the 10th over.
The Northants team began their season with a pair of T20 matches against Hertfordshire at Geddington on St George’s Day. In the first the home team were contained to 102-7 with opener Hayley Brown (29) top scoring. Herts overhauled this total with eight balls and five wickets to spare. In the second match Herts were bowled out for 72 with Josie Groves taking 3-11. Northants won convincingly by seven wickets in 13 overs with Florence Miller making an unbeaten 33.
Northamptonshire travelled to Easton CC to face Suffolk in their opening East of England County Championship fixture. In their 45 overs Northants made 144 for 7, Hayley Brown making an unbeaten 48. Recovering from 24 for 2 Suffolk gained their four-wicket victory in the 34th over.
RAFFLE AND TOMBOLA 2023
The Supporters Club raffle will take place on Sunday 20th August during the 50-over match against Derbyshire. This year’s Tombola will take place on Sunday 3rd September during the first day of the County Championship match against Lancashire. We look forward to your patronage of both these events.
As of 1 January 2023, the Supporters Club subscription rates will increase to £7 per year or £35 for five years. Therefore, if you did not pay for a five-year subscription in 2019 or later this will be due at the new rate.
This is a reminder that from now onwards we are no longer able to accept the following items: CDs, DVDs, videos, audio cassettes, magazines (including cricket), Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, Mills and Boon / Harlequin/ Silhouette novels, hardback books- except for cricket or any other sports related.
Thanks for your help in this.
For this issue’s quiz we step over towards the Northamptonshire cricket bookshelves. Which cricketers put their names to the following books:
- Largely Cricket?
- You Guys Are History!?
- The Breaks Are Off?
- The Narrow Line?
- Come In Number 3?
- Cricket Musketeer?
- England Test Cricket: The Year’s of Indecision 1981- 1992?
- A False Stroke of Genius?
Answers: 1. Colin Milburn, 2. Devon Malcolm, 3. Graeme Swann, 4. Geoff Cook (with Neville Scott), 5. David Steele (with John Morris), 6. Freddie Brown, 7 Nick Cook (with Neville Scott), 8. Wayne Larkins (book written by John Wallace)