Batting star Young hails Northants' 'character and fight' as they battle for draw

Will Young praised the 'character and fight' shown by Northamptonshire as they claimed a hard-fought draw against Yorkshire in the LV= Insurance County Championship Division One.

By Jeremy Casey
Monday, 25th April 2022, 9:19 am
Updated Monday, 25th April 2022, 12:19 pm
Will Young scored a match-saving 96 for Northants against Yorkshire

The New Zealand international led the County's rearguard action from the front as John Sadler's team batted out the final day on Sunday to ensure a share of the spoils and remain unbeaten.

The odds looked to be stacked in Yorkshire's favour as they started the fourth day with a commanding lead of 442 runs, and needing 10 wickets to secure a second straight win.

And when the County lost three quick wickets with skipper Ricardo Vasconcelos, Emilio Gay and Saif Zaib all dismissed to leave the home side rocking on 79 for three in the morning session, things looked bleak.

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But Young showed all his class and experience to score a patient 96 from 241 balls, and with crucial support from Rob Keogh (48 from 124) and Lewis McManus (62no from 141) being backed up by 42 from Matt Kelly, the County closed the day on 318 for seven.

“We wanted to show some character and fight, to get something out of the game and I’m glad I played a part in getting the draw," said Young, who narrowly missed out on a 13th career first-class century when he was bowled by Matthew Revis.

“There were also plenty of other guys in the team that stepped up and made really valuable contributions towards that.

“We’re happy to come away with a hard-fought draw."

Northants batting coach Ben Smith had spoken before the final day about the batsmen breaking the day down into small periods of play, and Young admitted it was a plan that helped him and his team-mates.

"Breaking it down into chunks helped – Ben Smith talked about 20-minute slots and we had a whiteboard and just crossed those off as they went by," said the 29-year-old opener.

“Yorkshire bowled really well and threw all sorts at us. You’ve got to keep yourself mentally fresh somehow and ticking off little things like that helps.”

Yorkshire coach Ottis Gibson was left frustrated by his team's inability to dismiss Northants, and a pitch 'offering us nothing' as they could only claim seven wickets in 120 overs.

“There was some good effort, all the way to the end, and that’s how we intend to play our cricket going forward for the rest of the season," said Gibson.

“The first two days, the game moved nicely along. The last two days, it slowed right down.

“Trying to get them out on a pitch that was offering us nothing, we had to dig deep. It was a shame we couldn’t get over the line, but we showed a lot of fight, character and spirit, and that’s very pleasing.

“We felt that 120 overs would be enough to bowl them out. It proved not to be.”

Northants are quickly back in action this Thursday when they face their first away game of the season with a trip to Chelmsford to take on Essex.