Steelbacks mark David Capel Memorial Day with win against Somerset
A dominant Northants Steelbacks batting display, underpinned by an enterprising century partnership from Ben Curran and Ricardo Vasconcelos, provided the foundation for a comprehensive 81-run win over Somerset on Sunday.
Curran and Vasconcelos put on 129 in exactly 20 overs before both falling short of well-deserved centuries after facing 93 balls.
Curran made 94, his highest list A score, while Vasconcelos contributed 88 to set the hosts on course for a big total.
With the middle order upping the momentum with some aggressive hitting, the Steelbacks posted a formidable 305 for six in a match reduced to 46 overs a side due to rain.
Somerset’s top order got bogged down against some disciplined bowling in reply and fell rapidly behind the run rate as they lost four wickets in seven overs.
Lewis Goldsworthy though, with an aggressive 80 from just 61 balls, threatened an unlikely revival.
He followed a career best 96 at the Oval on Thursday with a series of cleanly struck blows in a partnership of 120 with skipper Josh Davey (53).
Ultimately though, when Goldsworthy was out hit wicket after standing on his stumps, the visitors were left with too much to do.
The result capped a special day for Northants players, fans and past players who gathered to celebrate the life of legendary all-rounder David Capel who died last year.
In a special ceremony, the Wantage Road End was renamed the David Capel End in his memory.
The Steelbacks batters gave little hint of the carnage to come with just five runs coming from their first five overs.
Although Sonny Baker made the early breakthrough by removing Emilio Gay, Vasconcelos broke the shackles by taking three boundaries off an over from the same bowler.
Curran announced himself with a couple of powerful cut shots before rain forced the players off the field.
He picked up where he left off after the resumption with three boundaries from Kasey Aldridge’s first over.
Vasconcelos and Curran kept busy, taking quick singles and keeping the pressure on the fielders.
Both showed excellent timing with some delicate late dabs and cuts.
Vasconcelos took on the short ball too, pulling Marchant de Lange over midwicket before punching him down the ground for four more.
The Steelbacks skipper also reverse swept effectively against the spin of Goldsworthy.
When Vascancelos was bowled, Rob Keogh maintained the offense, taking four boundaries off one Goldsworthy over.
Eventually he attempted one big shot too many and was bowled by de Lange for 35.
There was to be no let up for Somerset’s bowlers though as Saif Zaib joined Curran in a stand of 56 in just 5.2 overs.
Zaib punched powerfully down the ground and pulled another ball over fine leg for six.
The boundaries kept coming with a maximum over square leg from Curran before Zaib hit an even bigger six.
Zaib was castled by Baker soon afterwards for 29 from just 17 balls, but Tom Taylor hit a few more boundaries at the end to underline his all-round potential.
A miserly spell from Ben Sanderson set the tone for the Steelbacks with the ball as he conceded just five runs from his initial five-over spell.
Somerset could only register 16 runs and a single boundary from the first 10 overs and lost Steve Davies early when he clipped a Jack White delivery to deep square leg.
Eddie Byrom looked to regain the initiative before top edging one from Taylor.
Sam Young swung Simon Kerrigan for two sixes over long-on but the spinner soon got his revenge by trapping him lbw.
Luke Procter, who finished with three for 40, seemed to remove any remaining hopes of a Somerset fightback with two wickets in one over.
First, dangerman James Hildreth holed out to deep midwicket, before George Bartlett was adjudged lbw to leave Somerset 89 for five.
That though brought Goldsworthy and Davey together who started to hit the ball cleanly and find the boundary regularly.
Once Goldsworthy departed, Simon Kerrigan mopped up the tail to finish with figures of four for 48.