Kerrigan spins County to emphatic defeat

Lee Daggett provided some resistance at the tail end of the Northants innings
Lee Daggett provided some resistance at the tail end of the Northants innings

Northamptonshire will be glad to see the back of Lancashire.

A second County Championship defeat of the season - this one by eight wickets - and a second to the Red Rose county hasn’t derailed their promotion hopes but it has put a bit of a dent in them.

If everything goes to plan for the respective parties, the two will meet again in the top flight next season but this week’s goings on will have provided the County with a reality check ahead of the final six games of the campaign.

It hasn’t been the case on too many occasions this year but in this contest they have been found wanting with both bat and ball.

Having been given first use of a good surface they came up significantly short in their first effort and then weren’t able to counter Simon Kerrigan’s left-arm spin second time around when batting time was the requirement.

Sandwiched in the middle was a bowling stint that lacked nothing for endeavour but, a couple of passages of play aside, offered little in the way of penetration.

The absence of Steven Crook hasn’t helped in this regard, neither has a spinner who looks desperately short of overs and these are things that need to be rectified.

This also applies to the top order who, quite simply, aren’t scoring enough runs and until that changes there is always the danger that this kind of defeat could be on the cards.

Resuming on 123-4, nine runs from making the visitors bat again, the first 80 minutes were relatively uneventful with both Andrew Hall and James Middlebrook looking in no real trouble.

Then came a four-over spell which as good as decided the outcome.

Kerrigan hadn’t really threatened from his usual angle and it took a switch to over the wicket to breach the dam wall as Middlebrook’s ill-advised sweep found the hands of Kyle Hogg at deep square-leg.

Two balls later Matt Spriegel was snared at short leg for the second time in the match and after a Wayne White over David Willey fell in an identical manner.

David Murphy survived the hat-trick delivery before becoming Kerrigan’s fourth wicket - he finished with 7-63 - in a dozen balls as he was hit in front.

Some resistance followed in the shape of Hall, who had to have runner after injuring a buttock muscle and whose mobility became increasingly restricted, and Lee Daggett who stuck in doggedly but once the latter had his defence breached by Chapple, the former fell to an athletic caught and bowled by the same man.

A target of 110 didn’t promise to cause many problems and although Karl Brown and Ashwell Prince were dismissed relatively early, to Muhammad Azharullah and Middlebrook respectively, Andrea Agathangelou made a composed half century to steer them over the winning line.