Northants start SA tour with victory

Northamptonshire won their opening match on their pre-season tour of South Africa by beating a strong Eastern Province XI by 16 runs in Port Elizabeth.

Though David Willey’s 34 was Northamptonshire’s highest individual score, most batsmen made a start in their competitive total of 201 from their 50 overs.

Ben Howgego and Stephen Peters put on 49 for the first wicket and James Middlebrook and rookie seamer Gavin Baker 50 from just 44 balls for the ninth wicket.

In reply Eastern Province collapsed from 119 for four after 24 overs to 185 all out. Warren Bell top scored for the South Africans with an aggressive 61, before he was snared by David Lucas, back in action after undergoing winter knee surgery.

Northamptonshire head coach David Capel was impressed by off-spinner Middlebrook and former Durham seamer Luke Evans who bowled good spells in the middle of the innings to restrict the score.

Lucas came back on to take two wickets in the final overs and off-spinning batsman Alex Wakely also managed to grab a wicket.

Northamptonshire will continue their pre-season tour with a t20 match against the Warriors franchise side who face Cape Cobras in the final of South Africa’s Standard Bank Pro-20 competition.

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