VIEW FROM THE BLUES: Rossington once again the bright spark
Until this week I was going to vote for the London Cheerleaders for player(s) of the year.
They have brightened up a grim summer of cricket and are the most glamorous thing down at the County Ground.
But along came Adam Rossington, and it’s been another cracking week for the big hitter.
The arrival of Rossington has been like signing an overseas player as far as the immediate impact goes.
The girls, alas, were knocked into third place behind James Middlebrook after they signed a contract to work at Peterborough United! As gorgeous as they are, that is treason girls!
Nottinghamshire were the next daunting challenge in August as the championship returned,
Stephen Peters was injured again and Middlebrook continue as the stand-in captain.
Northants’ 260 first up on a lively pitch was a slight improvement, but totally reliant on that man Rossington with a solid hundred, scoring a rare big six over the Blue Seats to seal his maiden championship ton, recovering the team from 108 for six.
We hear he has been offered a two-year deal, and it’s suggested he will sign on condition he is first pick wicketkeeper.
Ben Duckett being relieved of those duties makes sense, as the youngster appears overwhelmed by too much cricket and the responsibility he thought he could handle.
Rossington keeping in the match against Notts may suggest a decision has been made.
A twinkle of the old David Willey put Northants in the game to sit Notts on 25 for four, but, as per the rest of the season, once the new ball frayed and softened up, the visiting team took the match away from the home team with a barrage of crisp boundaries on day two.
We know Willey can turn games when fit, and there are signs he is getting back to the the player he was when he became the Twenty20 hero, but will he want to do that in Division Two?
But I feel I am a good judge of character, and he will stay next year.
Lumb (99) and that man Riki Wessels (71) corrected things for Notts with a 133 partnership to set up Chris Reid (59), Shazad (68*) and that big lug Fletcher with an unlikely 49 to double the innings score and pile the pressure on Northants.
A total of 388 was disappointing, but not as bad as normal.
Middlebrook’s field placements are better, and they did get Lumb out with a plan on 99.
Second time up you could see the confidence is returning to the home batsmen and we looked pretty solid.
Rossington with 80 chunky runs was again the keystone to all that is good in the batting order these days, and there was also a welcome score by young Rob Keogh (59), who, once in, looks very fluid.
Andrew Hall (67) is scoring again in his stoic style now he knows his career is on the line, and the talk is he will get another year with an eye to a coaching career somewhere.
Northants had put in a 28-day request to talk to Will Gidman of Gloucestershire looking ahead for another all-rounder, but Notts snapped him up soon after.
When people say players are not trying, they mean they are not going into that zone that takes everything you have to stay out there and that’s what Hall and Rossington do.
I believe Leicestershire’s Ned Eckersley has also been enquired about.
At one point in the match three players were wearing a Middlebrook shirt on the pitch, ominous surplus in the club shop for the all-rounder!
For some reason, Willey batted a ludicrous number nine and so not enough time to really make an impact here, which he often does, and perhaps that 338 all out would have been nearer 400 if he had batted seven.
That total was the fourth highest innings of the season.
Spirits were further lifted on Sunday by the nearby Sywell Air show as the Red Arrows serenaded the Gods with smoky hearts and angelic loops, mockingly drawing a big fat zero in the sky to celebrate Northants’ Championship campaign!
A total of 211 to win is not easy for any team on the last day, but Notts just had too much, briefly wobbling on 28 for three before England’s ODI debutant Alex Hales partnered little James Taylor (37) for 122, measuring his hundred perfectly to wrap it up by 3pm with a big six and the five wicket win.
Northants’ cheeky approach for him earlier in the season on a month’s loan seems to have rebooted his first-class career. Ooops!
There was a moment of hope for the home fans when Hales sent a big edge to the slips at 155 for five, but Hall spilled it and with that the game.
New overseas man Neil Wagner’s 177 runs from 37 overs can be excused for jetleg this time around.
He looks quick but bowled too short.