Northamptonshire home in on immediate target

Yorkshire 205-9 Northamptonshire 206-3 (Northants win by 7 wickets)
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The Independent Online
Playing for precious little more than the right of home advantage in the quarter-finals, which they also enjoyed yesterday, Northamptonshire comfortably beat Yorkshire, who also qualified for the knock-out stage of the Benson and Hedges Cup, which is drawn this morning.

With no Allan Lamb this season - busy alternating his time between stewing on Masterchef and suing Imran Khan - the vigorous batting often needed to change the course of one-day games had fallen to others like David Capel, now opening and doing a passable imitation of a man in form with 82 in 108 balls, including 12 boundaries.

His partnership of 148 with the captain, Rob Bailey, who scored an unbeaten 75, is a new club record against Yorkshire and easily secured a game the visitors never looked like contesting: their total of 205 for 9 was some 30 runs below par for the dry, bleached pitch.

Batting first, Yorkshire did their best to minimise North- amptonshire's role in their dismissal by embarking on a run-out spree that was as farcical as anything that might be found in the Dales council league.

Only one, a marvellous flat throw to the keeper from Tim Walton from the midwicket boundary to remove Tony McGrath as he went for a second run, had any cricketing merit attached to it.

The others, two of which involved Darren Gough, were appalling. His sending- back of Michael Bevan when the Australian was on 81, cost Yorkshire dear.

In spite of this Yorkshire, who won the toss and batted, did not always enjoy the best of fortune. On the same pitch last Sunday, Curtly Ambrose took 3 for 3 and was rapping batting gloves every other ball. Yesterday, the rising ball was less frequent, though one of the few that did fizz struck Martyn Moxon on his right thumb, forcing him to retire until the ninth wicket had fallen when he returned, hitting the last ball of the innings for four.

Ambrose, back at Wantage Road on a one-year contract, bowled impressively but without luck especially with the new ball. Later in the innings he peppered Gough with a series of toe-crushing yorkers.

If, by the way Gough hobbled about, it was an exchange that clearly brought the Yorkshire fast bowler pain, it also brought the best line of the day from a wag in the crowd, who shouted, "Get some Doc Martens on", in reference to Northamptonshire's sponsor. Never one to heed advice, Gough got stuck in later, bowling a pacy spell in normal bowling boots, clearly saving his flip-flops for the trip home.

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