(Photo: Getty Images)
By Matt Wright
Rob Newton’s heroics with the bat played a huge part in Northants’ victory over Derbyshire inside three days, in a match where quite a few others had their flaws exposed.
Players from both sides were guilty of being reckless in giving away their wickets with the action at times seemingly stuck on fast forward, given how frequent the dismissals sometimes came about.
But Newton showed the value of staying at the crease for a long period with his 108 in Northants’ second innings. His first 50 of that knock came off 66 balls – a strike-rate you’d associate the 27-year-old with – before he showed great patience in taking another 123 deliveries to convert his half-century into a ton.
Newton said: “We’re a side dominated by stroke-makers, I like to include myself in that some days, but it’s [about] knowing the right time to knuckle down.
“The wicket was quite low and slow and they set good fields with a pretty soft ball and they stuck to their plan pretty consistently, so some days you just have to sit in a bit.
“It helped that the first 50 was fairly quick and that meant that maybe I was under less pressure.”
One man who did his best to relieve the pressure on Derbyshire – whose near two-year wait for a victory in the Championship goes on – was 19-year-old paceman Conor McKerr.
The South African, on loan from Surrey, was unquestionably the visitors’ shining light, as he claimed match figures of 10-141 in what was only his second first-class game.
Derbyshire captain Billy Godleman said: “Conor was magnificent – ten wickets in a match doesn’t happen very often.
“I’m really pleased for him because he’s really keen, really skilful and he tries incredibly hard. He’s been great for us so far.
“Ultimately, we didn’t play good enough cricket for as long periods as Northants did and that was reflected in the scores and therefore the result.”