Cobb admits Steelbacks' failure to reach last eight of the Blast is 'bitterly disappointing'

Skipper Josh Cobb admitted it is 'bitterly disappointing' that the Steelbacks' Vitality T20 Blast campaign is over.

By Jeremy Casey
Monday, 19th July 2021, 10:01 am
Updated Monday, 19th July 2021, 10:04 am
Steelbacks skipper Josh Cobb
Steelbacks skipper Josh Cobb

Northants were beaten by 14 runs by Bimingham Bears in their final North Group clash of the summer on Sunday afternoon, but the team already knew their fate before taking to the pitch at Edgbaston.

The cancellation of Friday night's final home game against Derbyshire Falcons and the subsequent decision to finalise the table on an average points per game completed basis meant it was mathematically impossible for the Steelbacks to reach the knockout stages.

Cobb and his team were still hoping to end the campaign on a winning note at Edgbaston, but it wasn't to be as the Bears took the honours to book themselves a quarter-final date, and leave the Steelbacks rock bottom of the table.

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The writing was on the wall for Northants after they lost their first five games, and despite a little really mid-competition where they won four out of five, it proved too much of a task to get into that top four in the table.

"It's bitterly disappointing not to qualify," admitted Cobb.

"It has been frustrating because we have played some good cricket in parts but, one way and another, we have not quite done enough to get over the line and that was the case again on Sunday."

The Steelbacks were in the hunt for a win in patches at a sun-soaked Edgbaston.

With the ball, they had the home side struggling on 68 for four, but allowed them to recover as they posted a hefty 191 for six, with Chris Benjamin hammering 60 not out from just 34 balls on his debut, and West Indian Carlos Brathwaite bludgeoning 27 from 10.

Then with the bat, the Steelbacks started well and were up with the rate at 71 for one, before the wickets started to tumble and they ended on 177 for eight.

Rob Keogh once again impressed with his third half-century of the tournament, making 55 not out from 33 balls, while Cobb hit 35 from 18 and Ricardo Vasconcelos 39 from 33.

"The big overs at the end of their innings cost us," admitted Cobb.

"They had a big finish but were still only a little bit above par on a good wicket.

"Then we did well at the start of our innings and were up with the rate but they bowled well and we got a little bit bogged down in the middle."

The Steelbacks will now turn their attention to the Royal London One Day Cup, with their first group match at the County Ground next Sunday against Glamorgan.

Before that, they host Bedfordshire in a warm-up game at Wantage Road on Tuesday (start 11am).

Skipper Cobb will not be part of that campaign though, as he now joins up with the Welsh Fire for The Hundred, the ECB's controversial new competition which starts later this week.

Other players involved are Adam Rossington and Mohammad Nabi, who will both play for London Spirit, as well as Brandon Glover who is part of the Oval Invincibles squad.

Northants head coach David Ripley will also be absent for the One Day Cup, as he is assistant to team boss Shane Warne at the Lord's-based Spirit.

The Steelbacks will instead be run by assistant coach John Sadler and bowling coach Chris Liddle.