By Neil Fissler
Northants might have only won the Gillette Cup in 1976 and Benson & Hedges Cup in 1980 but they had a long history of playing finals.
They were beaten in the 1991 NatWest Final – the bank having taken over sponsorship of the one-day KO cup from Gillette in 1981 – by Derbyshire after losing more wickets and then to Nottinghamshire by three wickets in 1987 and to Lancashire by seven wickets in 1990.
They had also been runners-up in the 1979 Gillette final when Somerset won their first trophy.
But Alan Fordham says that beating Leicestershire in the 1992 NatWest final was richly deserved by a Northants side loaded with talent.
Northants made steady progress, seeing off Cambridgeshire by 86 runs in the first round. In the second round Fordham scored 78 out of 325-7 as Curtly Ambrose ripped through Yorkshire with 4-7 in a 133-run win.
Away from home for the first time in the last eight they posted 228-8 before bowling out Glamorgan for 141 to win by 83 runs.
The semi-final against Warwickshire at Edgbaston was a low scoring affair. The home side were dismissed for 149 and Northants knocked off 152 with three wickets to spare.
Leicestershire were never able to get away from them in the final at Lord’s with Ambrose taking 2-21 and Kevin Curran
2-28 as they were restricted to 208-7.
Only a third wicket partnership of 130 from Phil Robinson (62) and James Whitaker (84) posed any problems for Northants.
In reply despite Nigel Felton falling for six, Fordham (91 off 141) and Bailey (72) put on 144 for the second wicket to almost take them home by eight wickets with ten overs to spare.
Fordham said: “We were always near the top of the Championship around that time and a season rarely went by when we didn’t get to a quarter or a semi final.
“Although we didn’t win very much, it was a good quality side and we were certainly expected to win something each year.
“When we played Leicestershire, I know people didn’t score as quickly then as they do now but 208 was well below par.
“I think we bowled 40 overs in the first session and they weren’t scoring because we just rattled through them and when we batted it was a very one-sided final.
“We knocked off what we needed with ten overs to spare, but when you are in the moment you always feel it is that way.
“It’s okay if you lose an early wicket as long as you don’t lose another early wicket which is when things can become different.
“But me and Rob put on a few runs and it was one-sided from that point. Our stand was 75 per cent of the total and you are going to win easily when that happens,” he added.
BACK ROW (left to right):
Andrew Roberts: Kettering born all rounder also played Minor Counties for Bedfordshire is now working the family dental business in Northamptonshire.
John Hughes: Right-handed batsman has settled in his native Wellingborough and became a school teacher.
Mark Bowen: Right arm seamer has worked as a commissioning engineer for British Nuclear Fuels at Sellafield for many years.
Russell Warren: A wicket-keeper batsman is an umpire in the Notts PL and is also on the ECB’s list of reserve umpires.
Mal Loye: Former England ODI opening batsman and is now working as cricket coach at Wellingborough School.
Tim Walton: Right handed batsman now believed to be back living and working in his native North Yorkshire.
Ritchie Norman: Former Leicester City footballer who also managed Burton Albion. Now Nuneaton Town physio.
Jeremy Snape: A former ODI and t20 England all-rounder has become a leading sports psychologist and has also worked as a performance coach in the IPL and Big Bash.
Nigel Felton: A batsman who became Northants commercial director and now runs his own company – Sports & Stadia Services – which provides winter pitch protection.
Alan Fordham: Right handed batsman who after retiring in 1997 became head of cricket operations for the ECB.
Paul Taylor: England fast bowler now working as director of development for the Surrey Cricket Board in South-east London.
Neil Stanley: Right handed batsman has remained in the Northampton area where he works for an opticians.
Kevin Curran: Zimbabwe all-rounder went into coaching and was head of the Zimbabwe Cricket Academy at the time of his death in October 2012, aged 53, after he collapsed while jogging.
Tony Penberthy: All-rounder spent seven years as contracts manager at Deane & Amos Shopfitting and is now managing director of MO Projects
Wayne Noon: Wicketkeeper who is now Nottinghamshire’s assistant director of cricket having previously coached the 2nd XI.
Bob Carter: Medium pace bowler who also played football for Norwich City. He was later Northants director of cricket before moving to New Zealand where he is NZC’s head performance coach.
David Ripley: Wicketkeeper/ batsman replaced Capel as Northants head coach in 2012 after coaching the youths and 2nd XI following his retirement.
Richard Williams: Batsman who served Northants for 18 summers is based in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire. Now an electrician by trade and running his own business, Richard Williams Installations
Rob Bailey: Middle order batsman whose father-in-law Roy Wills played for Northants. Has been a first-class umpire since 2006.
Allan Lamb: South African-born England international batsman who also played for Western Province and Orange Free State. Has worked in television and runs AL Associates, an event management and hospitality and luxury holiday business.
Nick Cook: England Test left-arm spinner. Went into coaching but has been standing as a first class umpire since 2009.
David Capel: All-rounder who spent 33 years at Northants as player and then coach until leaving in 2012 and is now coaching the England’s women’s team.
Alan Walker: Seamer who went into coaching and is Durham’s bowling coach. He is also assistant coach to Durham University.
Curtly Ambrose: West Indies fast bowler has been an ambassador for Antigua, a bassist in a band Spirited and also the West Indies fast bowling coach.
This article was published in The Cricket Paper, May 8 2015
Twitter – @TheCricketPaper