T20 FINALS DAY: Departing Willey’s trophy dream ends in tears

DISAPPOINTED - Northants Steelbacks' David Willey
DISAPPOINTED - Northants Steelbacks' David Willey

David Willey was left a disappointed man after his dream of signing off his Steelbacks career with a Twenty20 title success was scuppered by Lancashire Lightning on Saturday.

Northants reached the final of the NatWest T20 Blast thanks to an excellent semi-final win over Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston, but they came up short in the final as they went down by 13 runs to their Old Trafford rivals.

The match was Willey’s last limited overs game for his home county before he leaves for Yorkshire.

It could even be his final appearance for the club as he now reports for England duty, and the 25-year-old couldn’t hide his frustration after the game.

“It’s probably a game we could have won but none of us got going with the bat,” said Willey, who hit 24 as Northants replied to Lancashire’s 166 for seven with 153 for six.

“We didn’t bowl great up front and they got a good start, but with the exception of Josh Cobb we didn’t get past 30.

“To win would have been a dream finish for me, and it’s sort of how I pictured it in my head.

“As has been well documented, we’re a small club and we’ve overachieved, so credit to the lads and back room staff.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t get across the line.”

Cobb was the Steelbacks’ top scorer in the final with 44 not out from 37 balls, and said: “It’s a massive disappointment.

“We were underdogs to a lot of people, but we were backing ourselves to go out and win it.

“We can be proud to get to the final, but it is a shame not to get over the line.

“I struggled to get going with the bat, while I was there I was always backing myself, but I probably needed someone to play a good cameo at the other end.”

Willey now leaves Northants for pastures new, and although Cobb accpets that is a blow, he feels the Steelbacks can come back stronger next season.

“Unfortunately, we lose Willo who’s exceptional for or T20 side,” said Cobb.

“But there’s a lot of talent in our squad who can step up and maybe we can come back next year.”