Northants came agonisingly close to saving their second County Championship game of the season last week against Lancashire, and are now looking to bounce back at home to Glamorgan.
The odds were stacked against David Ripley’s side going into the final day at Old Trafford, but they came within 12 overs of securing an unlikely draw after a battling effort. Their rearguard was led by Luke Proctor, who batted for over 6 hours to make 93 before he succumbed to Matt Parkinson.
After a draw against Kent in their opening game, Northants’ top order batting woes resurfaced and they collapsed to 177 all out in their first innings, after which there was little chance of victory. There were positives to take from the trip to Manchester, though, most notably the performance of Simon Kerrigan who took 4-60 in Lancashire’s first innings.
Glamorgan head to Wantage Road also looking for their first win of the season. Having had the upper hand of a weather-affected draw against Yorkshire in the opening round of matches, they were blown away by an Ollie Robinson inspired Sussex in Cardiff last week and eventually fell to an 8 wicket defeat.
The two sides played out a thrilling contest in the Bob Willis Trophy last season. Marchant de Lange struck the fastest century in Glamorgan’s history, while Callum Taylor also made three figures for the Welsh county. It proved in vain, though, as Northants put together a well paced run chase on the final afternoon to win by 6 wickets.
When the fixtures were released, both sides will have looked at this match as their best opportunity for a win in the opening month of the season and, with the weather set fair for the week in Northampton, this match could go a long way to determining the finishing position of these two in Group 3.
After his 2019 season was cruelly curtailed by injury, and having had limited opportunities in 2020, it has been pleasing to see Ricardo Vasconcelos back on the field for Northants at the start of this season. He made a sparkling 154 in the first home game of the season, against Kent – an innings that came in good time, too, taking 209 balls and including 21 boundaries. He dug in at Old Trafford last week, but was ultimately undone by Matt Parkinson in both innings. Despite only being 23, Vasconcelos is already an established member of the Northants top order.
Despite the defeat to Sussex last week, there were plenty of positives for Glamorgan. Most notably Kiran Carlson, who made a century in each innings. In a new role at number 5 this season, he followed up a half century in the opening game at Headingley with two marvellous innings of 127* and 132 against Sussex last week. More contributions from the middle order is something that was highlighted by Matthew Maynard as an area Glamorgan needed to improve in 2021, and things have certainly started well for his side.
Northamptonshire squad: tba
James Harris has been named in the Glamorgan squad as he begins his two-week loan spell from Middlesex. Timm van der Gugten has been rested, while Joe Cooke comes in after a second XI century against Lancashire.
Glamorgan squad: Chris Cooke, Andrew Balbirnie, Kiran Carlson, Joe Cooke, Dan Douthwaite, James Harris, Michael Hogan, David Lloyd, Billy Root, Nick Selman, Callum Taylor, Roman Walker, James Weighell.
Northants – DL
Glamorgan – DL
Weather and conditions
The weather looks set to be fair for the week in Northampton with little chance of rain across the four days. The opening match of the season at Wantage Road was a high-scoring affair, with both Northants & Kent making over 400 in their first innings in a drawn game.
Date: 22nd-25th April
Ground: Wantage Road