Northamptonshire’s defense of their Natwest T20 Blast crown ended in a damp squid at Wantage Road, as their final group game against Durham was abandoned at the midway point.
The Jets were in control having posted 208-3, Graham Clark top scoring with 71, but after an earlier rain break, the showers returned with a vengeance at the interval, preventing any further play.
Northants’ fate had been in their own hands with two games to go, but their mauling at Headingley last night, Adam Lyth striking 161 as the Yorkshire Vikings posted 260-4, left them needing a win and favours from elsewhere.
As it turned out wins for Derbyshire, Birmingham and Leicestershire meant the Steelbacks would have been eliminated whatever the outcome at Wantage Road, meaning Alex Wakely’s side will miss out on the quarter-finals for the first time in three years.
Head Coach David Ripley pulled no punches afterwards, seeing his side fail to win any of their final three games having put themselves in pole position to qualify before defeats to Leicestershire and Yorkshire and the Durham washout.
He admitted his side hadn’t been consistent enough and, after a title winning campaign when someone always stepped up to play the winning role, said that hadn’t happened, particularly in the run in.
“We’re wery sad, we really set up a good position with three games to go, maybe we hadn’t played our absolute best cricket but with three games left we looked well set to qualify and we’ve played poorly,” he said.
“We haven’t recreated the form we’ve shown in recent times and over 14 games.
“It’s a little disappointing we haven’t had the opportunity this evening but over those 14 games, we haven’t made it.
“We needed to win one of the two [before tonight] and we’d have been in [the top four] and maybe this would have been a slightly different ending but we didn’t play well against Leicester, we didn’t play well at Yorkshire and we hadn’t played particularity well in the first half of this game.
“T20 cricket is the format it’s very tough to be consistent, but when we’ve been bad we’ve been very bad, we’ve had too many guys have off nights particularly at this back end of the campaign when we’ve been used to people putting their hand up for us and getting the job done, we haven’t had that.”
“It feels like we’ve gone out with a bit of a whimper, but six wins set us up into quite a strong position, we’ll maybe think back to the Birmingham game as one that got away, ifs and buts but we’ve come up short.
“The lads are very disappointed, the position we were in with three games to go we felt we’d played some decent cricket without reaching our peak.”
Injuries have blighted Northants’ campaign, particularly in the spin department, with Sri Lankan Seekkuge Prasanna unable to return this year and whilst Tabriz Shamsi covered for the first five games, his departure, coupled with Graeme White’s injury at similar time left them short.
Whilst Ripley wasn’t using it as an excuse, he did believe that it had seriously affected his team, particularly struggling with wicket taking, or containment in the middle overs.
“We havee missed Seekkuge, someone bowling in the middle with the experience he brings, leg spin, Shasmi we had that but as soon as he left, and Graeme picked up his shoulder injury, they’re not excuses but facts of our campaign.
“They have effected our campaign as well as having some of our better players missing, that’s affected us but we haven’t played well enough consistently to progress.”