Mixed emotions for in-form Tom Taylor as Steelbacks suffer setback

Tom Taylor scored a brilliant century for Northants Steelbacks in defeat against Worcestershire (Picture: Clive Mason/Getty Images)Tom Taylor scored a brilliant century for Northants Steelbacks in defeat against Worcestershire (Picture: Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Tom Taylor scored a brilliant century for Northants Steelbacks in defeat against Worcestershire (Picture: Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Tom Taylor was once again left with mixed emotions following Northants Steelbacks' seven-wicket defeat at the hands of Worcestershire in the Metro Bank One Day Cup on Wednesday.

For the second time in this season's competition, the all-rounder rescued a sub-standard Northants batting display to score a brilliant century, only to ultimately end up on the losing side.

In the tournament opener at Gloucestershire, Taylor hammered 112 after arriving at the crease at 54 for six in reply to the home side's 278 all out, but couldn't stop his team losing by 23 runs.

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On Wednesday, Taylor again entered the fray with Steelbacks in big trouble at 105 for six, and he rose to the challenge once more, this time hitting 100 from 80 balls to lift his team to 252 all out.

But it wasn't enough as the visitors cruised to victory at 253 for three, getting home with 6.5 overs to spare, with Worcester's Rob Jones hitting a match-winning 122 from 126 balls.

"I was really happy with my innings, and with the situation as it was when I came in it gave us a fighting chance," said Taylor. "But it was a disappointing day overall.

"We gave ourselves half a sniff, but I felt the wicket was always going to get better with the sun on it all day, so we knew we were perhaps under par.

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"But a good powerplay and you never know, but credit to their lads they put on almost 200 so they deserve the win, definitely."

Northants were asked to bat by Worcestershire skipper Jake Libby and, in the absence of the injured Prithvi Shaw, were quickly in trouble as they slumped to 91 for five and then 139 for seven.

"We would have won the toss and bowled, and that would have been the game for us, to try and get them three down early," admitted Taylor.

"I felt our batters in the powerplay were got out through good bits of bowling and a little bit of nibble in the pitch, but that is now new pitches generally play. They are pretty good wickets here, and if you find movement early that is probably your only hope."

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Northants claimed a wicket in the first over of Worcestershire's reply and had them at 40 for two, but then had the game taken away from them by a 194-run partnership between Jones and Libby, who finished on 82 not out.

“It just shows how difficult it is when you get two set batters in in this format, especially with only four out in the circle," said Taylor.

"Unfortunately, we were never able to build enough pressure to warrant getting any sort of squeeze, which is a shame.

"The powerplay could have gone a lot better. I thought Jack White bowled beautifully at the other end in the powerplay, and I felt he was unlucky not to get a wicket as well.

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"So, you never know, maybe if we’d have got them three or four down in the powerplay, but it just wasn't to be."

Northants' efforts weren't helped by a string of dropped catches, and Taylor admitted: “We were really poor in the field.

"It's probably our worst performance in the competition, so that's something that we've just chatted about in the dressing room. We’ve got a game on Friday, and we'll be throwing ourselves around again."

The loss to Worcestershire was the Steelbacks' second of the competition, but with three matches to play they are still in reasonable shape for a top three finish and a place in the knockout stages.

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Northants are fourth in Group B, two points behind second-placed Gloucester and third-placed Worcester, but with a game in hand on both.

They are back in action on Friday when they go to leaders Warwickshire, who currently boast a 100 per cent record from five matches.

The Group winners go straight into the semi-finals, with those in second and third going into a play-off with the second and third-placed finishers in Group A for the other two last four spots.