Sadler left frustrated as Steelbacks fluff their lines against Bears

Head coach John Sadler admitted that 'in hindsight' skipper Josh Cobb probably should have bowled during Wednesday night's six-wicket Vitality Blast defeat to the Birmingham Bears at the County Ground.

By Jeremy Casey
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 11:06 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 11:43 am

The powerful Bears batting line-up made pretty short work of overhauling the Steelbacks' big score of 211 for six, getting there with wickets in hand and seven balls to spare.

It was a bad night for the Northants attack, with left-arm wrist spinner Freddie Heldreich, who has enjoyed an excellent season, in particular having a tough time as he finished with figures of one for 59 from his four overs.

Cobb had previously bowled the first over in all bar two of of the Steelbacks' North Group games this season, but that honour went to Tom Taylor on Wednesday - and he was dispatched for 21 as Bears got off to a flyer.

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Adam Hose and Chris Benjamin celebrate their match-winning partnership against the Steelbacks on Wednesday

Skipper Cobb, who has bowled in the powerplay in every match apart from the trip to Notts Outlaws, boasts the best economy rate of all the regular Steelbacks bowlers this season, going for 7.05 an over, and has also taken 10 wickets.

But despite the Bears dominating the bowling on Wednesday, Cobb failed utilise himself, with the County only using five bowlers.

"The thinking at the top of the innings was that we thought it might just hold a little bit and do a bit, as it did in their innings," said Sadler when he was asked why Cobb hadn't bowled.

"We back our seamers, so no problem with that, but obviously Cobby has been really good for us this year.

Josh Cobb failed to bowl himself in the defeat to the Bears on Wednesday

"Look, they have to judge it out there. Cobby is very wise, he reads the game very well and he sorts his bowlers. We will debrief that and have a look at it.

"It is never a criticism of anybody, but the obvious question is why didn't Cobby bowl?

"We back him out there and he has got to feel it in the moment, and maybe with hindsight we would have bowled him."

It was a frustrating night for the Steelbacks, and for Sadler, although the head coach accepted that Bears batters Adam Hose and Chris Benjamin, who both scored unbeaten half-centuries, had excelled for their side.

"It's not often you get 211 and then think you are maybe 10 short," said Sadler. "I would have backed us at half-time to defend 211, but we just weren't quite on it.

"Credit where it is due though, they played really well and came out and got off to a flyer.

"They were always going to come hard with the power they've got, and although I would have backed us at half-time it wasn't to be.

"We said that wickets were going to win the game, because with the power the Bears have got they just keep coming.

"They were always going to keep going and they have some fine strikers of a cricket ball, and we just hoped that one would be clothed or get caught in the deep or whatever.

"But they got some good partnerships and credit where it is due, they played very well.

"On another day that sneaks over the boundary will just go to hand.

"We didn't bowl as well as what we have done and what we can do, we didn't quite execute, but it is a fickle game sometimes and you can't get too up when you win and too down when you lose."

The Steelbacks have now dropped to fourth in the North Group table, but their qualification fate is still in their own hands with two matches remaining.

They entertain Yorkshire Vikings on Friday before wrapping up their campaign at Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road next Friday.