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DEFEAT IS HARD LINES ON DUCKETT

Northamptonshire suffered a two-wicket defeat at the hands of Yorkshire in the Royal London Cup at Scarborough - despite a superb century from Ben Duckett.  But the home side's Adam Lyth, with a rapid hundred of his own, had the final say.

Lyth thrashed eight fours and seven sixes in completing the second List A century of his career and he went on to make 125 off 78 deliveries with ten fours and eight sixes before thumping Graeme White to Richard Gleeson at deep mid-on.

Vikings were then 189 for three in 25 overs as they chased 311 and although Lyth was the first of three wickets to go down in nine balls for three runs, they still made it to their first one-day win of the season after four consecutive defeats and two 'no results'.

It was a hard earned win against plucky opponents who were splendidly served by the belligerent Duckett, who hit 121, and Alex Wakely with 71.

Lyth totally dominated an opening stand of 106 in 12 overs with his captain, Alex Lees, who had contributed 20 when he played Steven Crook to square leg where Ben Sanderson took the catch after not holding it cleanly at the first attempt.

Lyth's fierce blows early on included two consecutive sixes off Mohammad Azharullah, the second of them crashing into the mobile fish and chip van.

New Zealand captain, Kane Williamson, in his first innings of the season for Yorkshire, played Gleeson into his stumps for ten, and after Lyth had gone, Jack Leaning was caught and bowled by Josh Cobb without scoring and Adil Rashid drove White gently to mid-on.

But Ballance and Bresnan steadied Yorkshire with a 58 stand which closed when Bresnan became White's third victim, caught on the cover boundary for 38.

Ballance's nicely judged 50 came off 62 balls and David Willey soon made an impact against his old club with a couple of big sixes but as Yorkshire were approaching the winning line, Azharullah shook them by bowling Ballance and Liam Plunkett in the space of three balls to leave them on 303 for eight in the 47th over.

Willey kept his nerve however and he blasted Crook for six to win the game with 15 balls remaining.

Put in to bat on a greenish pitch and soft outfield, Northants batted with positive intent from the onset of their innings and although luck was sometimes with them they thoroughly deserved their competitive total of 310 for seven.

Duckett's maiden century in List A cricket - his previous best score was achieved only last week when he struck 98 against Lancashire at Northampton - contained cleanly timed strokes of the highest quality.

He was joined by Wakely after Steelbacks' openers Cobb and Rossington had gone with 35 scored and the pair brought momentum to the innings with a 166 stand in 27 overs.

It was Northamptonshire's highest third wicket stand against Yorkshire in List A matches, overtaking the 131 by Rob Bailey and Allan Lamb at Headingley in 1995.

Whereas Duckett was virtually faultless, Wakely had two escapes, first on three when Plunkett failed to hold on to a sharp return chance low to his right and then on 38 against Bresnan when Ballance got underneath the ball at deep square leg but the catch dropped out of his hands.

Neither batsman wasted scoring opportunities as Northants cruised in into three figures in the 25th over and Duckett hurried to his third consecutive one-day half-century from 61 balls with six fours.

Their century stand arrived in 18.5 overs, the second 50 taking them only 32 balls, and Wakely celebrated by smacking Rashid through the legside for six to register his 50 from 60 deliveries with four fours and two sixes.

Yorkshire were forced to bring Lyth into the attack with his off-spin and it was he who made the breakthrough. Wakely, in two minds over what stroke to play, gave a gentle return catch and was out for 71 from 79 balls with five fours and two sixes.

Rob Keogh fell to Plunkett without scoring but Duckett swept Rashid for two to complete a run-a-ball century which contained 11 fours and two sixes and he added a couple further boundaries before skying the leg-spinner to Leaning just inside the mid-wicket rope.

Steelbacks were 246 for five in the 43rd over and they remained in control as Rob Newton hit 26 from 15 balls with a four and two sixes and Steve Crook went in unbeaten on 46 from 41 deliveries with three fours and a six.

It was a particularly expensive day for Bresnan whose ten wicketless overs cost him 76 runs.

Northants' head coach, David Ripley, said: "I thought 310 looked a good score for us and I was disappointed we did not win because I felt our performance deserved better.

"We stuck in there after being put in to bat on a damp pitch and in heavy overcast conditions and it was a very fine partnership between Duckett and Wakely. Then Yorkshire must have had a word with the big man up there for the sun came out for their innings.

"We didn't have the rub of the green but Adam Lyth made a dent in our hopes with a very fine innings."

 

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