George Bartlett makes his mark before bad light frustrates Northants

George Bartlett makes his mark before bad light frustrates Northants

Leicestershire 97 for 2 (Kimber 47*) trail Northamptonshire 453 over December 7 (Bartlett 126*, Gay 88, Procter 64) by 356 runs

A combination of rain and poor light frustrated Northamptonshire after they had taken a solid hold on their Division Two match with Leicestershire in the Vitality County Championship at the Uptonsteel County Ground, where the home team are 356 runs behind at 97 for two his first entries. .

George Bartlett, who moved to Northampton from Somerset at the end of last season, recorded his first hundred for his new county and finished unbeaten on 126 as Northamptonshire began the second day scoring 116 in 14 overs to secure maximum batting points, before declaring 453 for seven.

Chris Tremain (37) and Lewis McManus (28 not out) backed Bartlett’s excellent innings, before stalwart bowler Ben Sanderson provided big-wicket advantage in his first over as Australian opener Marcus Harris was dismissed for a duck.

Leicestershire, for whom Louis Kimber is unbeaten in 47 years, were looking to rebuild when dismal conditions forced players to leave the field mid-afternoon, never to return. Only 37 overs were possible and with wet weather forecast for day three, this may be another match destined to end in a draw.

Having closed the opening day on 337 for six, Northamptonshire were hopeful of securing perhaps two more batting bonus points by reaching 400 in 110 overs, although a cold, cloudy morning made for less than ideal weather conditions. Furthermore, Leicestershire’s bowling attack thought they could do some damage with a ball that was still relatively new.

In the end, the first hour could hardly have been much more one-sided, as Bartlett and Tremain, followed by McManus, pushed the boundaries at will to surpass 450, thus accumulating the maximum five batting points. The home attack had struggled for consistency at times on the first day and again bowled too many loose deliveries.

Tremain, in his last match for the county before returning to Australia, made 37 off 44 balls, with six fours and a booming six off Tom Scriven. McManus displayed a series of innovations before sweeping Rehan Ahmed for six to reach the target with two balls to spare, finishing with an unbeaten 28 for 15. Ahmed took a second wicket when Tremain found the fielder at deep mid-on, but the spinner England’s figures took a toll with 28 conceded in their last two overs.

Bartlett, who reached his first century for Northamptonshire off 180 balls when he drove Scott Currie for his 15th four, also smashed a maximum from Ahmed for a final tally of 18 fours and a six.

The first of two rain stops prompted a statement from captain Luke Procter, after which Harris’s wicket in the first of a possible eight overs before lunch in Leicestershire’s reply capped a more than satisfactory opening session for the visitors. Sanderson found the edge when the Australian left-hander, who scored a double hundred against Derbyshire last week, pushed a ball outside off stump and was caught behind without scoring.

Another rain delayed the resumption by 35 minutes, a break in the weather allowing a further 15.1 overs before heavy clouds made it too gloomy to continue, although two and a half hours before play was finally abandoned for the day.

Needing a score, Kimber was three short of making a solid half-century but had lost his second-wicket partner Rishi Patel after a stand of 57.

Patel, aggressive as ever, found the boundary five times in six legitimate deliveries off Procter but succumbed to the all-rounder’s next, leaning forward to defend but gaining an edge towards McManus.