Rossington leads Northants home
Northamptonshire 242 for 6 (Rossington 82) beat Gloucestershire 240 for 9 (Klinger 98, Willey 4-33) by four wickets
Adam Rossington's highest score in limited-overs cricket led Northamptonshire to a four-wicket victory against Gloucestershire in the Royal London Cup game at Cheltenham. Rossington, on loan from Middlesex, made 82 from 91 balls, with 12 fours, as Northants overcame Gloucestershire's 240 for 9 with almost eight overs to spare.
Rossington put on 85 in 13 overs for the second wicket with Richard Levi, who blasted 43 from 39 balls, and shared a third-wicket stand of 69, also in 13 overs, with Matthew Spriegel, who made 32.
Earlier, captain Michael Klinger had held the Gloucestershire innings together with 98 from 131 deliveries, but the home side's total was below par on a ground with short boundaries square of the wicket and with a fast outfield. David Willey was comfortably the pick of the Northants attack, with the left-arm paceman's haul of 4 for 33 including three wickets in the closing overs.
Willey's first wicket came in the eighth over when Alex Gidman played across the line and was bowled for 12. Klinger reached his first half-century in 11 innings when he turned James Middlebrook for a single to deep midwicket, having struck seven fours, but the loss of three wickets in six overs undermined Gloucestershire's attempts to build a challenging total.
Chris Dent was run out at the non-striker's end by Azharullah's direct hit from short fine leg, Hamish Marshall was bowled off his pads by spinner Graeme White, who took a low caught and bowled to dismiss Ian Cockbain in his next over.
Will Gidman and Klinger revived the innings with a sixth-wicket partnership of 73 in 14 overs, which ended when Gidman miscued a delivery from Willey to Kyle Coetzer at cover. That proved to be the start of a collapse in which four Gloucestershire wickets fell for 10 runs in 13 balls. Klinger's well-paced innings ended when he was caught behind, attempting to run a delivery from Steven Crook down to third man.
Willey won lbw appeals against Adam Rouse and Tom Smith, which left Gloucestershire in deep trouble on 197 for 8 in the 44th over. Craig Miles was caught at midwicket by White off Crook in the penultimate over, but Benny Howell finished unbeaten on 30 after hitting the last two balls of the innings, from Azharullah, for four and six.
When the visitors batted, Coetzer fell lbw to David Payne for a duck, and only eight runs were taken from the first five overs. However, Levi and Rossington upped the tempo dramatically. Levi hit two sixes, one driven over midwicket off Payne and the other cut square off Miles, and also struck five fours before he clipped a Will Gidman delivery to Smith at mid-on.
Rossington reached his 55-ball half-century with a lofted driven boundary off Smith's left-arm spin, the ninth of his innings. He surpassed his highest one-day score of 79 not out, made for Middlesex against Yorkshire at Radlett last year, before he departed in the 28th over when he swept a ball from Dent to Howell at square leg.
It became 197 for 4 in the 35th over when Spriegel was caught behind off Howell, but Northants were cruising to victory by then. Gloucestershire claimed two more wickets when Smith took a return catch to dismiss Crook for a hard-hitting 36 and bowled Ben Duckett for one. However, Northants' victory was never seriously in doubt and Willey, with an unbeaten 26, and Middlebrook duly completed the success.
Gloucestershire captain Klinger felt his side were 30 runs shy of a defendable total. "Northants had the better of the first 10 overs in each innings and that made a difference," he said. "Rossington and Levi gave them momentum when they batted, and we needed one of the top three to do the same and it didn't quite happen for us.
"I thought 270 would have been a par score, and if we had got to 280 or 290 then that would have put them under real pressure."
Northamptonshire head coach David Ripley agreed with Klinger's verdict, saying: "The ball held up a little bit at times, but it's a fast-scoring ground and we were pleased to keep Gloucestershire to 240. Adam Rossington batted really well for us. He's a lad I've known about since he was 16 and he has a lot of talent. It wasn't quite happening for him at Middlesex this season, but he's done well for us and we're delighted to have him for at least another month."