Northants win in thrilling end to Day Four
Northamptonshire won by three wickets with one ball to spare in a thrilling end to the first Specsavers County Championship match of the season.
Opening pair Billy Godleman (156*) and Luis Reece shared a 333-run partnership, setting the record for a Derbyshire opening stand in the county championship, which previously stood at 322 by Harry Storer and Joseph Bowden in 1929.
Reece hit career-best 168, becoming the seventh Derbyshire player to hit a century on debut in a championship fixture.
Shiv Thakor (12*) made quick runs before Derbyshire declared at lunch on 351-1, setting Northants 326 to win in 65 overs.
Will Davis (2-37) made the breakthrough in the eleventh over as he dismissed Ben Duckett, edged to wicketkeeper Gary Wilson for 16. It wasn’t long before Davis had his second wicket, Alex Wakely lbw without scoring just four balls later.
Tony Palladino (2-36) raised Derbyshire’s hopes going into the final session after taking two wickets in consecutive overs seeing off Rob Keogh (24) and Adam Rossington (11).
Leg-spinner Jeevan Mendis (3-78) saw off Rob Newton for a well-made 98 after the opener attempted a reverse sweep only to find the gloves of Wilson.
Richard Levi moved things along quickly for Northants, scoring 99 off 78 including 10 fours and four sixes. The game turned again as he was removed by Mendis just one short of his century.
Max Holden went for 44 after being caught by skipper Godleman, Mendis claiming his third wicket. The visitors required 10 from the last 10 deliveries with leg-spinners Mendis and Daryn Smit bowling the remaining overs.
Smit bowled tightly in the final over as the game came down to two runs needed from the last two deliveries. Rory Kleinveldt (16*), however, hit the winning runs down the ground with a ball to spare, giving Northants a three-wicket win in a tense final session.
Godleman said: “I believe to learn to win you sometimes have to put yourself into positions where you may lose.
“It didn’t happen this game but firstly I believe we can win games without trying to set them up. We have the character and the quality to do so.”
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