McManus happy as Steelbacks claim warm-up win over Cambridgeshire
On a rain-interruped day, John Sadler's side claimed a 51-run win on the DLS Method against their National Counties hosts, and the result was a boost ahead of Friday's competition opener against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.
The Steelbacks rested several players, but with Lewis McManus as skipper, the likes of Luke Procter, Tom Taylor, James Sales and Justin Broad all started, along with experienced left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan, who made his first appearance of the summer.
There were also starts for wrist spin pair Freddie Heldreich and Alex Russell, as well as Hassan Azad, Gus Miller and young seamer George Gowler.
McManus top-scored with the bat, making 62 from 95 balls as Northants were bowled out for a modest 223 in 47.5 overs, with Procter's 39 from 44 balls the next best effort.
For Cambs, skipper Callum Guest finished with four for 41 and Harrison Craig claimed three for 42.
It was a concerning collapse with the bat, as Northants folded from 165 for three, losing seven wickets for 58 runs.
The home side were sniffing an upset and in their reply they raced to 37 for none inside six overs, but then it all went wrong for them as they quickly found themselves 49 for seven - losing seven wickets for 12 runs!
Broad and Procter sparked the collapse, claiming three for four and three for 11 respectively.
The home side did restore some respectability, with the impressive Guest making an excellent 64 from 68 balls and Danny Mohammed hitting 28 too lift their side to 133 for seven.
But wickets for Kerrigan and Russell checked their home side's comeback and when the rain put paid to proceedings Cambs were 166 for nine from 35 overs.
Captain McManus was pleased with the result and performance, telling BBC Radio Northampton: "I think it was a great run-out for the guys,"
"Obviously it is great to win the game, but more importantly it was about getting back into the pace of 50-over cricket.
"Hopefully we can pick up where we left off last year a little bit.
"We have a few things to learn individually, but also as a team, and now we have two days' training this week before the first game."
The likes of Ricardo Vasconcelos, Emilio Gay, Ben Sanderson, Jack White and Rob Keogh will all come into contention for the trip to Cheltenham, and McManus believes the Steelbacks, who have only lost David Willey and Saif Zaib to The Hundred, are in decent shape ahead of the 50-over campaign.
"We actually have some competition for places in this competition, which is brilliant," he said.
"We have young lads coming in, and hopefully they have learned a little bit from this game, and areas they can improve, but ultimately we want that competition for places in this fortmat.
"It is obviously a trophy we want to compete in, and try and win."