Yorkshire edged through to the Royal London one-day Cup knockout stages for the fifth year running by beating already eliminated Northamptonshire at Emerald Headingley.

The Vikings claimed a fourth successive North Group win by chasing 242 with four wickets in hand and an over remaining.

But they missed out on a home semi-final eliminator tie having not reached their target in 41 overs in order to better Nottinghamshire’s net run-rate.

In fact, they nearly missed out all together by slipping to 134 for five with David Willey out for 71. 

But Gary Ballance and Jonny Tattersall went a long way to clinching the win with a calm 87-run stand for the sixth wicket inside 14 overs. 

Ballance made 66 off 61 balls and Tattersall 52 not out off 51.

They will travel to Chelmsford to face Essex next Thursday for the right to advance to the semi-finals.

Willey starred with bat and ball against his former county, also taking three for 24 from 9.5 overs as Northants were bowled out for 241.

Yorkshire made things more difficult for themselves as Northants recovered from 101 for six. 

In pursuit, the hosts then stuttered as Rob Keogh’s off-spin (two for 26 from 10 overs) tied them down.

Matthew Fisher, Tim Bresnan, selected ahead of England quick Liam Plunkett, and Adil Rashid all struck twice for Yorkshire, while debutant Charlie Thurston, 21, was the Northants standout with 53 off 62 balls.

Willey claimed two of the first three wickets as the visitors, who elected to bat, fell to 23 for three.

He had Ben Duckett caught behind and Ricardo Vasconcelos at first slip before returning at the death to get last man Ben Cotton caught at mid-off.

Thurston shared partnerships of 42 and 46 for the seventh and eighth wickets with Rory Kleinveldt (29) and Graeme White, who finished 41 not out.  

Yorkshire slipped to 14 for two early in the fifth over of their reply as Adam Lyth and Tom Kohler-Cadmore were both caught behind off Kleinveldt and Hutton.

But Willey raced out of the blocks. 

He hit four of his first six balls for four, hit Kleinveldt for two leg-side sixes in the 10th over and reached 50 off 42 balls in the 17th over as the score advanced to 85 for two.

But shortly afterwards Keogh made two crucial breakthroughs, getting Joe Root caught behind reverse sweeping for 18 and Che Pujara lbw as the score slipped to 102 for four in the 25th over.

When Willey miscued Saif Zaib’s left-arm spin to long-on eight overs later, Yorkshire nerves were jangling.

But Ballance and Tattersall held it together, reaching fifties to the delight of the 2,000 strong home crowd before the former fell with 21 needed. 

Yorkshire wicketkeeper Jonny Tattersall said:

“To get a win and a quarter-final is great for the lads. It’s great to contribute having played a bit of second-team cricket and then getting the chance to come in and keep when I’ve only been doing it a couple of months.

“I’ve really enjoyed it. 

“That just tops it off for me, and hopefully there’s more to come.

“We were always under control with the run-rate. It wasn’t too out of control. Myself and Gary (Ballance) were keen to keep touching it around and getting the ones and twos. We knew that if we got the odd boundary away, the rate would come down.

“We weren’t panicking, and we spoke in the dressing room afterwards. All the lads on the balcony were pretty comfortable as well.

“Momentum has been good (over the last fortnight). Four wins out of four has been good. Hopefully we can take that into Essex and keep that winning streak going.”

Northamptonshire head coach David Ripley said:

“Our performances have been a bit up and down. We haven’t had a strong competition, but we fought hard against a strong Yorkshire. We visibly competed in the field and, at times, looked like we were shading the game. 

“We also competed hard with the bat. 20 for three in the power play with not the depth we could have had in our side given injuries, and we scrapped our way to a score that looked competitive if we started well with the ball. And we did.

“We’re walking away fairly proud of our performance, but ultimately the campaign has been disappointing. 

“Nobody in our side has got a hundred and the batting stats weren’t that strong.”