Played one, won one. Not a record Northants have achieved for more than two decades.
But with victory over Glamorgan secured, Alex Wakely’s side travel to Derbyshire for round two hoping to provide further evidence that talk of improvement in the Specsavers County Championship is more than just conjecture.
Not since 1995 have Northants won the opening game of the season and they are now targeting a second victory to become just the fifth side in the club’s history to prevail in the first two matches of the season, and the first since 1987.
“We’ve talked about starting well in this competition and that’s just what we’ve done,” said Wakely about the innings-and-22-run win over Glamorgan.
“We found in division two cricket, if you get two or three wickets early on you can really get on a roll.
“With the ball we were superb and really bowled in partnerships. We’ve talked about that in reverse too, in not losing early wickets when we bat and that’s the challenge going forward.”
Another feature of the opening round win was the perfect record in the field, with all the chances to the slips cordon taken.
That was in stark contrast to 2016, where a host of opportunities were missed in the field, contributing to Northants’ winless run that stretched to August.
“We’ve got a much more settled cordon now and that makes a huge difference,” said Wakely.
“You get used to standing in the same place all the time and building a relationship with the guys stood next to you.”
Northants will hope for a repeat performance at the Racecourse Ground, where they haven’t won since 2003.
“If we can come out from these first three games with two wins, it sets us up perfectly,” said Wakely ahead of the Derbyshire fixture, which begins on Friday.
“The start is so crucial. Once the season really kicks into gear with the other competitions it becomes more difficult to pull it back in the championship – as we found out last season.
“Injuries can creep in, there could be England or Lions call-ups and things, so it makes these early rounds very important.”