by Dave Bracegirdle in Barbados
Northants Steelbacks came up just short in the Plate Final of the Barbados T20 competition. Restricted to just 92-8, they bowled themselves back into contention before eventually going down to Hampshire Royals by just 3-wickets.
Alex Wakely won the toss and elected to bat first but on a slow, worn, wicket run-scoring was proving difficult. By the halfway stage of the innings the board read 44-4 with Steven Crook (4), Rob Newton (13), Andrew Hall (20) and Wakely (10), all gone.
Ben Duckett salvaged some respectability with an unbeaten 26 from 24 deliveries but a total of just 92-8 seemed well below par.
Other Steelbacks individual scores: Matthew Spriegel 18, Con de Lange 3, Rob Keogh 0 and Oliver Stone 1.
Stone, though, gave his side some immediate hope with three early wickets in the Hampshire reply, dismissing Carberry, Vince and Ervine to finish with figures of 3-1-8-3.
The Royals had Liam Dawson and Jimmy Adams to thank for repairing the early damage.
Adams then hit Matthew Spriegel straight to Andrew Hall and on 69 three more wickets fell for just the addition of one run.
Steven Crook bowled Dawson and Con de Lange dismissed Michael Bates and Michael Roberts.
In a tense, dramatic finish Chris Wood and David Balcombe spoilt the evening for the Steelbacks by scraping home in the final over.