Skipper Procter delighted as Northants show their powers of recovery

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Skipper Luke Procter was delighted to see Northamptonshire bounce back in style as they beat Middlesex by seven wickets.

The County completed their run chase to ensure they would not suffer back-to-back defeats to start the new LV= Insurance County Championship Division One season.

Northants had lost at Kent in their opener, but they refused to be denied by Middlesex, chasing down the victory target of 119 with seven wickets to spare just before lunch.

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The hosts had resumed on 30 for one on Sunday morning and though Hassan Azad and Chris Tremain departed, they made their way to victory, with Sam Whiteman (60no) and Procter (16no) seeing them home.

Luke ProcterLuke Procter
Luke Procter

It was Procter’s first win since taking over as captain.

And he said: “It’s amazing. To bounce back from where we were last week (the defeat against Kent), the boys have stood up and done well.

“It certainly does make this win all the more sweet.

"I thought that we had the rough end of the conditions at Kent. We got put in on a tough wicket and it seemed to flatten out towards the end, so it was good to bounce back and do really well on a tough wicket again here.

“It certainly wasn’t all done this morning. Sam (Whiteman) has played an unbelievable knock and brought us home, so congrats to him.

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"It was only a matter of time to be honest. He’s a proper player, so only a matter of time before he got going and I think he'll carry on from it.

"He’ll kick on nicely.”

Procter also praised Rob Keogh, whose first-innings 75 not out was key for the County.

“Certainly if Rob hadn’t played the way he has, I think the game could have had a different a different result,” Procter said. “So, well done to him.

"He’s a very vital part of our team with bat and ball and in the field.”

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Northants are now gearing up for a home clash with Hampshire, starting on Thursday.

And Procter said: “It'll be a tough game against Hampshire, but they’re all going to be tough games in division one, so we’re going to back ourselves and go for the win.”

Defeat to Northants means Middlesex are still winless at the start of the new season

And Middlesex captain Toby Roland-Jones said: “It was obviously another frustrating four days. I think we showed some good fight in amongst some tricky periods and unfortunately came up short and been outplayed again.

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“It's been a tricky start (to the season). We've played on some wickets that have obviously offered a fair bit and some attacks that have bowled nicely with the new ball. So, those guys (the top-order batsmen) know that they've got they've got the faith and the trust of the dressing room and hopefully there's some runs around the corner.

“Part of being an opener, and part of being an experienced player is learning how to deal with different situations. And I think you always see the best players are the best at coping with those downtimes. It's part and parcel of playing, and I’ve got no doubt about our guys.

"You always know that often good form is one knock away. And there's a lot of guys that will know that and will hopefully look to put things right from next week.

“There are improvements to come from the bowling as well. I think we've been good and consistent at times, but also at times lacking a little bit of threat. So, we'd like to sort of keep adding to that and try to find a better balance between being nice and tight with the runs, but also always feeling like we're putting as much pressure as possible on the batsman.

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"I think we can still improve on that, and bowling in partnerships, and all of the stuff like that. There’s definitely a bit of progress to come.”

On the defeat to Northants, Roland-Jones added: “It was a big ask today, and we knew that. But of course, you always have to hold belief in those situations and know that you've got to do everything you can to put pressure on those guys.

"And obviously, we saw that they managed to battle through the tough periods there. It's always going to get easier and easier the closer they get. And that proved to be the case.

"It was always sort of too low a score to defend in the end. But we'll certainly take some of the positives away from this game.

"The way Higgo (Ryan Higgins) played and batted first innings again was superb. He looks in fine touch. So, we’ll hopefully take some positives away and look to regroup for next week.”