Sadler delighted as the Steelbacks get One Day Cup campaign 'up and running'

John Sadler admits he is delighted the Steelbacks are finally 'up and running' in the Royal London One Day Cup.

By Jeremy Casey
Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 6:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 6:50 pm
Northants Steelbacks coach John Sadler
Northants Steelbacks coach John Sadler

Northants had endured a frustrating start to the 50-over competition, losing their opening clash at home to Glamorgan, before trips to Yorkshire and Surrey were ruined by the rain.

It meant last Sunday's clash against Derbyshire was something of a must-win encounter if Northants had serious hopes of reaching the knockout stages, and thankfully they did the business with an eight-wicket triumph.

They were again made to wait though as morning rain delayed the start before a 28-over-a-side contest got under way in the early afternoon.

"We managed to get the win under our belt on Sunday, so I feel like we are up and running," said Sadler, who is undertaking Northants head coach duties with David Ripley working with London Spirit in The Hundred.

"It would have been tough for us (to qualify) if we hadn't got a result, and credit to the groundsmen I thought they did a great job.

"We were frustrated with the groundsmen at Scarborough, and at the Oval as we felt it wasn't as efficient as it could have been, but we got back home and our groundstaff were superb, so credit to them."

The Steelbacks ended up winning the match with just three balls to spare, but that looked a highly unlikely scenario when Derbyshire were reduced to eight for four after just two overs!

"What happened in the first two overs was incredible really, and our opening bowlers did superbly," said Sadler.

"Fair play to them though, their two guys came out and played aggressively and put the pressure back on us and got themselves back in the game."

The Steelbacks ended up needing 178 to win, and they got home thanks to an unbeaten 84 from Emilio Gay, 50 from Ricardo Vasconcelos and a crucial 33 not out from just 16 balls from Rob Keogh.

And Sadler admitted the County could have timed their run-chase better.

"Batting wise, we were always confident we would chase that score and the openers put 100 on which was fantastic, but if I am honest if probably got a little bit tighter than we thought," he said.

"We shouldn't really be leaving it until the last over with eight wickets in hand, but we won the game, there were a couple of standout performers, and it was nice to get that first win."

With four of the eight Group B games played, the Steelbacks are sixth in the table, but only a point behind third-placed Notts Outlaws and three poinst adrift of top two Glamorgan and Somerset.

The top three teams qualify for the knockout stages.

The Steelbacks return to action on Friday when they travel to Edgbaston to take on Birmingham Bears (start 11am).