Dreadful County don’t show any fight

Jack Brooks dismissed Rob Keogh for the second time in the match on the fourth morning
Jack Brooks dismissed Rob Keogh for the second time in the match on the fourth morning
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Five defeats in five.

A sad statistic that is owned by Northamptonshire after their 271-run annihilation by Yorkshire in the LV= County Championship.

The end came at 2.45pm with half of the day remaining and all that can be said is that it was limp and lacking in any kind of fight.

Relegation might seem a harsh word to be using but on this evidence it won’t take until September to be confirmed.

Call it optimistic, call it delusional, call it upbeat, call it naive, in fact call it whatever you want, but the tweet offered up by the Northants account prior to play starting - Morning all, Northants require 366 runs with 7 wickets remaining today. Strong start required #GoSteelbacks - had a darkly ironic tone to it.

That irony concerned the monstrous target needed which was purely hypothetical given the fact a fair chunk of the batting had already gone, nobody had yet scaled the heights of three figures and an innings this season has yet to encompass the 111 overs that would need to be survived.

Yet while the runs required part of the equation was never really going to threatened, it wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility, despite the form guide suggesting otherwise, that the latter two could be accomplished.

But the urging of a strong opening must have fallen on deaf ears, or unviewed mobile phone screens, as Matt Spriegel shouldered arms to the first ball of the day from Tim Bresnan and only succeeded in intercepting the ball with his front pad.

Rob Keogh, who had looked relatively comfortable, then edged a good Jack Brooks delivery behind and when Andrew Hall’s frenetic effort came to a close, a reneged-on pull shot looping gently to cover, the game was almost as good as up.

Almost is about right as while Rob Newton was with Ben Duckett, who has to be higher in the order when Warwickshire turn up a week on Sunday, there was a glimmer of hope and the pair resisted for a while either side of the lunch interval.

It took the pace of Liam Plunkett, who had seen off Hall, to break the partnership as a ball after giving Duckett a hurry-up on the back foot, a fuller offering drew a leaden-footed response and an edge behind.

That was the almost part gone with little to come and it was left to Newton, who was solely taking on Plunkett with Ian Butler’s uneasiness against pace leaving him with Adil Rashid’s leg-spin, to try and eke anything, if there was anything left, out of the game.

The number six, who had survived for more than a couple of hours by playing straight and not attempting too much, finally went when he fended a Plunkett delivery to first slip and all that was left was for Butler to be hit in front by Rashid and Maurice Chambers to get cleaned up to give the former Durham man his fourth wicket.

Just 94 added, on a surface that was still pretty good for batting, and a final total of 160.