Wakely pays tribute to skipper Rossington as Northants clinch top flight promotion

Former skipper Alex Wakely paid tribute to his successor Adam Rossington after Northants clinched promotion to Specsavers County Championship Division One with a rain-affected draw against rivals Gloucestershire.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 6:02 pm
The Northants players and staff celebrate promotion at Bristol on Thursday morning

The County went into the clash at Bristol knowing they needed four points to guarantee promotion, with Glamorgan also needing to extract maximum points from their trip to Durham to deny them.

As it panned out, the weather was to have the final say, with the final two days of Glamorgan's clash at The Riverside being called off without a ball being bowled, handing Northants, as well as hosts Gloucestershire, promotion.

Rain and a saturated outfield also meant the final day of the County's match at Bristol was a washout, and the promotion party could begin, with both sets of players celebrating together.

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It is a remarkable achievement by the County, who were bottom of the table in June, and didn't win their first game until July, with those early season problems led to Wakely resigning for them captain's role he had held since 2015.

He was replaced as skipper by Rossington who has overseen a change in mentality and form, and Wakely, who went on to play a key role in the promotion with the bat in the middle order, has been impressed.

"Adam's brought us all together and given us the confidence to win matches and believe in ourselves," said Wakely.

"When you're on a losing run, you tend to over-analyse things and it's hard to snap out of it. But when you're winning, you just rock up to the next game and keep doing the same things.

Northants batsman Alex Wakely

"We were unable to turn good situations into wins during the early part of the season, but then it just clicked for us.

"I think it was a confidence thing. All of a sudden, we went into games believing we could win them, and that's made the difference."

Gloucestershire all-rounder Ben Charlesworth was left high and dry on 77 not out as the game against Northants was abandoned with the home side on 220 for seven in their first innings.

Persistent rain meant only 73 overs were possible in a match which saw two complete days washed out.

Put into bat in damp conditions on the opening day, Gloucestershire collapsed to 80 for six, with the outstanding Ben Sanderson taking two wickets to advance his tally for the season to 60.

Charlesworth and Graeme van Buuren (93) joined forces in a seventh-wicket stand of 151 on the third day to carry Gloucestershire to the very brink of promotion, which was confirmed on Thursday morning, sparking a joint celebration.

Northants claimed seven points from a the match to finish second behind Lancashire, one place ahead of Gloucestershire, who took six points, and players from both sides then had a drink together in the dressing rooms.

"I've never seen anything like this in my career," said Wakeley.

"We get on really well with the Gloucestershire boys and for us both to be promoted on the same day while playing one another is a great feeling.

"There was no hesitation. Even before we knew our game was off, we went into their dressing room to congratulate them on being promoted. Once our game was also abandoned, we all mixed together and shared a few beers.

"It's a great atmosphere in there, something really special, because we're two teams that nobody really expected to do this well."