“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”Frank Herbert (1920-1986) American science fiction author.
And so, the inevitable has happened Northamptonshire have been relegated from Division One. Ironically this was confirmed with the drawn match against Surrey at The Oval where Northants had forced their illustrious opponents to follow on. Of course, no team is relegated as a result of one performance and there can be little argument against the County being overall the poorest team in the top division this season. This despite finishing the season far more brightly than in 2022. They now face the prospect of life in Division Two for the first time since 2019. As Gloucestershire have shown this season that doesn’t mean an easy ride.
You will see that this edition of WSS features a critical article. Let me reiterate that the views of any contributors are not necessarily those of the Supporters Club committee or myself. Nevertheless, I believe it is important that such views should be aired. The time to be concerned is not when people are critical, it is when they don’t care.
The ending of a cricket season is always a sad time. Even when the season has been disappointing both in terms of results and weather. Hopefully we at the Supporters Club can do a little to brighten your autumn and winter.
SUPPORTERS CLUB PLAYER OF THE SEASON 2023
Your choice as Player of the Season is Jack White. We presented Jack with his trophy during the final match of the season against Essex in September. The departing Tom Taylor also featured strongly in the voting.
TOMBOLA AND RAFFLE
Thanks to everyone who supported our raffle and Tombola. I can tell you that the Raffle made £674.70 (I’m assuming that someone paid over the odds!). The raffle realised £177.00.
All-rounder Tom Taylor has left Northamptonshire to join Worcestershire on a four-year contract. Taylor joined the County in 2020 having previously played for Derbyshire and Leicestershire. He hit two centuries in the recent One-day cup.
Also leaving Northamptonshire is all-rounder Gareth Berg who has retired from professional cricket. Berg joined Northamptonshire originally on loan in 2019 having previously played for Western Province, Middlesex and Hampshire. The 42-year-old has been coach of the Italian National Team in recent times.
Also retiring is Simon Kerrigan. The 34-year-old joined Northamptonshire full time in 2020 following a loan spell in 2017.Previously he played for Lancashire and made one Test Match appearance for England in 2013.
Derbyshire seam bowler George Scrimshaw will join Northamptonshire for the 2024 season on a three-year deal. Originally with Worcestershire Scrimshaw underwent major back surgery in 2019 and left Worcester the following year. In 2021 he joined Derbyshire and has also played for Welsh Fire in the Hundred. He made his England ODI debut against Ireland at Trent Bridge in September.
Another George will be joining Northamptonshire for next season. Somerset batter George Bartlett also joins on a three-year deal. The 25-year-old made his county debut in 2017 and has also played for England Under 19. He was a member of the Somerset team which won the One Day Cup in 2019.
Former Northamptonshire cricketer Mike Dilley died in August at the age of 84. Born at Rushden Dilley made 33 appearances for Northamptonshire between 1957 and 1963. His most successful season was 1961 when he took 80 wickets including a career best 6 for 74 against Sussex (including a hat trick) he also took another hat trick against Nottinghamshire. After leaving the County staff he led both Rushden Town (three times) and Irthlingborough (twice) to County League titles.
Graeme White has retired from county cricket. The 36-year-old will now concentrate on his coaching career. White made his Northamptonshire debut in 2006 but left the County to join Nottinghamshire for 2010. However, 2013 saw him back on loan but he returned on a permanent basis the following season. Currently he holds the record for most T20 wickets for Northamptonshire (91 in 114 matches) just ahead of David Willey (89) and Ben Sanderson (81).
Indian batter Karun Nair was signed for the final three County Championship matches. He made his debut against Warwickshire at Edgbaston. Nair hit an unbeaten 303 against England at Mohali in 2016. He is only the second Indian to hit a test triple century following Virender Sehwag who has done it twice. Nair marked his second appearance with 150 against Surrey at The Oval.
England Women will take on Pakistan in a T20 international on Friday 17th May at the County Ground.
IN MEMORIAM NAMES
It’s been brought to our attention that not everyone was able to read the names which were displayed on the scoreboard on the day of the Act of Remembrance or were able to hear the announcement. The names involved are therefore listed here; Tom Baughen, Leslie Bonner, Mike Dilley, Tom Eason, Roy Johnson, Tony Kingston, Albert Lightfoot, Sean Ruddy, Archie Sim, Nigel Turner, Gus Williamson
PRITHVI SHAW: A SHOOTING STAR
The signing of Indian batter Prithvi Shaw had been rumoured for several weeks before it was confirmed prior to the start of the One-day Cup in August. Shaw began the campaign with comparatively modest innings of 34 against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham and 26 against Sussex at the County Ground. Then Somerset came to Northampton on 9 August and Shaw hit 244.
This little innings set a few records. It is the highest 50 overs score for Northamptonshire (beating 161 by David Sales against Yorkshire at the County Ground in 2006) and the highest List A Northamptonshire score (beating 172 not out by Wayne Larkins against Warwickshire at Luton in 1983). It is also the highest score in the One Day Cup (beating the unbeaten 206 by Ollie Robinson for Kent v Worcestershire and 206 by Ali Orr for Sussex v Somerset both in 2022). Overall, it is the second highest List A innings in England beaten only by Ali Brown’s 268 for Surrey v Glamorgan at The Oval in 2002 and the sixth highest List A score anywhere – the highest being 277 by Narayan Jagadeesan for Tamil Nadu v Arunachal at Bengaluru in 2022.
Just for good measure Northamptonshire’s total of 415 for 8 is their second highest in List A cricket (and their highest at the County Ground) behind only 425 all out in a losing cause against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 2016.
Shaw went on to hit an unbeaten 125 against Durham at Chester le Street but during this match sustained the knee injury that ended his season.
And so that was it. 429 runs in four innings at an average of 143.
REFLECTIONS ON RECENT EVENTS
Many Northamptonshire supporters are disappointed that Tom Taylor is leaving for Worcestershire. Head coach John Sadler told the local media that the club could not match the four-year contract the all-rounder signed in order to play at Worcester. This is surprising when Northants consider that they are in a better financial position than many counties including Worcestershire. Perhaps the hierarchy at Wantage road may have been able to secure 28-year-old Taylor on a long-term contract if they had not made three expensive signings in recent times.
In June 2022 vast majority of the local cricket lovers were delighted to hear that one of our own best ever all-rounders David Willey, was coming back to Northampton. People tend to think that a signing is one with no strings attached. However professional cricket in the modern era is a much more complicated business nowadays. As a player signed a four-year contract and made himself available only 14 out of the 78 scheduled days for one of the competitions during the 2023 season. Northants signed cricketer on a four-year contract who is 1757 days older than a player who’s departing to Worcester.
Meanwhile Josh Cobb may have found himself the most expensive cricketer in England and Wales this year as he has been restricted to playing for Kibworth 1st XI and Northants second eleven. Cobb was only 17 years and 19 days old when he made his first-class debut for Leicestershire on Wednesday 5th September 2007 at Grace Road against Northamptonshire and there were three interesting names on the school card of that match. Opening the batting for Northants were Steven Peters who is currently in charge of cricket at Wantage road, while playing for Leicestershire were the Foxes present director of cricket Claude Henderson and the Steelbacks head coach John Sadler. Northants won the game by 177 runs.
When a professional cricketer signs for a county club many demands are put on the individual by supporters. Some players are liked by the majority of spectators while others struggle to get a positive rapport or with the watching public. As far as Ollie Sale is concerned the jury will be out by Northamptonshire supporters until April 2024 at the earliest. That is because injury has ravaged him to such an extent that he has been unable to take to the field in competitive action since he joined Northamptonshire from Somerset. Hopefully next season will be kinder for him.
SECOND ELEVEN & NORTHAMPTONSHIRE WOMEN
Lack of space prevents me from including updates on both Northamptonshire’s Second Eleven and Women’s team. Hopefully I will be able to include this in December’s West Stand Story.