Loye sees Northants to win over Yorkshire

Northamptonshire Steelbacks broke their duck in the Norwich Union League this season at the sixth attempt, courtesy of a three-wicket victory over Yorkshire Phoenix at Wantage Road.

It was hard work for batsmen on both sides, and below-strength Yorkshire struggled to 161-8 in their 45 overs - a total made possible by all-rounder Gary Fellows with a competition-best 67 from 108 balls.

Northants also found the going tough and declined from 77-1 to 120-6 in the space of 13 overs. But they were guided to their target by Mal Loye, whose unbeaten 65 off 121 deliveries with seven boundaries proved the decisive contribution.

Phoenix ran into early trouble as skipper David Byas and Michael Lumb went for 14, leaving Fellows and Matthew Wood (35) to repair the damage with a stand of 83 in 21 overs. Former Sussex paceman Michael Strong snapped up for 4-28 on his first Sunday appearance of the summer for Northants.

Richard Blakey's 33 not out in 41 balls gave the visitors a chance, and once the second-wicket partnership of 59 between Loye and Russell Warren (30) was broken the match ebbed and flowed over by over.

It took a sensible 20 from David Ripley to settle the hosts' nerves, and Northants secured the points despite a fine spell of spin bowling from Richard Dawson, who claimed 3-28 in nine tidy overs.