Well unfortunately the cricket season has now come to an end for Northants Cricket. After the last two seasons of just missing out on promotion to Division One of the LV= County Championship and with the signing of the explosive Cameron White for the T20 competition, there was so much to look forward to at the start of the season.
Unfortunately, in the end it was a disappointing season for the club in all three competitions. With the bad weather we have had this summer and some crucial injury problems to our small squad; it was always going to be a hard season for the club. In the County Championship, although we did not reach the heady heights of the top two or three as in previous years, up until the last couple of matches we always kept ourselves in contention with a chance of promotion.
You can always look at lack of form from certain players throughout a season in any sporting teams but personally for me it was the injury front that hit us really hard - the main reason being that in a lot of our matches we played with out our two main opening bowlers. It is bad enough missing one of them but there was a lot of matches where the team took the field without both Brooks and Vaas.
You only have to look at the wickets they took only being 23 and 6 respectively. These two lads took far more wickets last season and it was always going to be very hard to bowl sides out twice with these two missing. On the plus side, Luke Evans made a good case of becoming an opening bowler if he can stay fully fit with 12 wickets @ 17:38 run a wicket. Although a bit expensive at times, with his height he can always do some damage when bowling.
Although our skipper was another player that was injured at the start of the season it was still pleasing to see Hally take 34 wickets, the second highest wicket taker in the team, most of his wickets came in the second half of the season.
It was only fitting to see that David Willey come top of the bowling averages with 43 wickets. I really think that David came of age this season in bowling, batting and fielding he was superb in all forms and competitions for Northants. With the bat he averaged 34 and is definitely falling into the ‘class’ all-rounder mould, I personally would like to see him bat higher up the order in the four day cricket next season.
It has been well publicised how poorly we done in both competitions of the white ball cricket and already the club have tried to rectify this by signing the Surrey all-rounder Matt Spriegel, although he has been released by Surrey any cricketer that has played at Surrey since the age of 9 must have something about him, and I personally think it is a good signing for Northants.
I’m glad that David Sales has signed again for the club, we do have a lot of youngsters in the team that are coming through which is good news for the club but at the same time you can’t beat experience to help these young lads along the way and that is why the club must keep the likes of Sales, Hall, Peters, O’Brien and Middlebrook. These lads will share their experiences with the young brigade and maybe next season if we get near promotion or may I even say some cup finals! We will need these older heads to keep calm and get us over the finishing line. A lot of these lads have been there before and are experienced internationals.
With the bad weather it might be another ‘tighten your belts’ time by the club over the winter especially with low crowds for the 20/20 competition and that is probably why there will only be one or two more signing at the club. With Chaminda Vaas now finishing with us and the uncertainty of the future of Jack Brooks, another opening bowler is paramount if we are going to do well next season.
For me and a lot of Northants supporters this season was one to forget, but with the emergence of David Willey and Rob Newton, plus some of the youngsters coming through things are not all doom and gloom at the County, winter well and lets all dream of a better cricket season next year for Northants and for some better weather to go with it!