Wakely and O'Brien lift Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire 241 for 7 trail Derbyshire 286 by 45 runs
Alex Wakely stood in the way of Derbyshire's bowlers for the second season in a row to keep Northamptonshire in their County Championship match at Derby. The 23-year-old scored two half centuries against Derbyshire at Chesterfield last summer and he frustrated them with another fifty on a hard-fought second day at the County Ground.
Wakely scored 62 in four hours and with Niall O'Brien, who also made 62, rescued the visitors after they had slipped to 69 for 4 replying to Derbyshire's 286. James Middlebrook continued the fightback with an unbeaten 40 before bad light forced an early close with Northants on 241 for 7, leaving the game in the balance.
Northants had started another chilly day in a precarious position on 28 for 3, 258 behind, and Wakely and David Sales concentrated on blunting the Derbyshire seam attack, which tended to bowl too wide in the first hour.
Sales was on 15 from 38 balls before he finally lost concentration and edged a drive at Ross Whiteley low to third slip where Dan Redfern took a fine catch. But that was the home side's last success for 35 overs as Wakely and O'Brien dug in to add 78 in gloomy conditions that forced the umpires to call for the floodlights to be switched on.
It was the brightest part of the game for much of the afternoon session although Wakely did loft Wes Durston's offspin down the ground in a rare show of aggression to bring up his half century from 185 balls.
His vigil was ended when he misjudged the length and was lbw playing back to David Wainwright, who then spilled a catch at deep midwicket when O'Brien top-edged a pull on 38. That proved costly in runs and overs as Northants accelerated after tea against the new ball, with Middlebrook pulling Mark Footitt for six and driving him through the covers for two fours.
A top-edged pull over the slips gave O'Brien a fifty which came off 144 balls but after batting for 200 minutes, he was lbw playing across the line at Whiteley.
David Willey stayed with Middlebrook for seven overs before he was lbw to a full-length delivery from Footitt but shortly afterwards the umpires decided that, even with the floodlights on, the light was not good enough to continue and play was abandoned seven overs early with Northants 45 runs behind.