However, this season is very different to the last two. In the County Championship, promotion is very much on the cards, while in the Yorkshire Bank 40, the semi-finals are also well within reach. A new skipper, new coach, and a new vein of form. A couple of good value new signings in Mohammad Azharullah, Matt Spriegel and, for the early part of the season, Trent Copeland, have all breathed fresh life into a somewhat floundering county.
Azharullah came to Yorkshire for the Pakistani winter, fell in love, married, and somehow found himself at Northants.
- Mohammad Azharullah and David Willey were the strike bowlers
- Richard Levi would go at the bowling savagely while Kyle Coetzer would give him the strike
- Cameron White was the pillar around which innings were built
- Alex Wakely was the middle-order finisher, making vital 30s to turn a good score into an excellent one
- Steven Crook and David Willey were both impact all-rounders
The stats below go to show how well those seven main players went about their jobs in the side, but do not tell the stories of the other contributors. Lee Daggett took only six wickets, but kept the scoring right under control; James Middlebrook and Matt Spriegel did absolutely everything that was asked of them; David Murphy was impeccable behind the stumps; Graeme White's short return to Wantage Road on loan was jam-packed with wickets.
Northamptonshire Steelbacks weren't necessarily the most talented side in the competition, but they were the most reliable, the most well-drilled, and the most cohesive.
Strike Rate: 107.32
Strike Rate: 159.83
Strike Rate: 145.74
High Score: 110*
Strike Rate: 134.40
Strike Rate: 125.60
Strike Rate: 163,63
David Willey enjoyed the match of a lifetime in the final.
The man himself was modest afterwards, suggesting that he doesn't have the consistency to make it into the England side just yet. He can't be far away, though, while Azharullah and Crook will also have done no harm to their credentials. And with success comes the spotlight - everyone will want to know exactly how Northants did it. It was quite simple, really: they all played their best cricket. If they keep doing the same, then their odds next year will be much shorter.