The Academy came away from their two consecutive one-day games against Northamptonshire with two wins, as the youngsters maintained their winning start to the new season.
Both games were played at Ticknall CC, a ground the Academy players know well and look to use to their advantage. Northants won the toss on the first day and elected to bowl first on a used pitch that still offered plenty for both bat and ball.
This decision looked to be a good one when they reduced Derbyshire to 30-3 after 7 overs. What followed was a simply magnificent partnership of 135 between Rahib Ali (66) and Harvey Hosein (80) that put the Academy side right back on track. Once they had been removed Greg Cork, with 52 not out, Callum Brodrick and Tom Taylor took the game away from Northants with aggressive hitting and excellent running between the wickets. Derbyshire finished their 50 overs on an impressive 313-6.
The Northants reply got off to a bad start, with them slumping to 29-4 from 12 overs thanks to superb opening spells from Greg Cork and Ben Cotton. Although Northants recovered briefly to 88-4, they then slipped to 93-7, and then shortly afterwards to 115 all out to give the Academy victory by a massive 198 runs.
Northants batted first in the second game on Day 2 and were much more disciplined with their approach to constructing an innings of substance. They attacked selectively and ran well between the wickets against another disciplined Derbyshire bowling performance.
Whilst Derbyshire's bowlers kept a check on free scoring, the fielders were a little guilty of being slightly 'off the pace' in comparison to the previous day. Northants finished their innings on 242 from their 50 overs; a total that the Academy knew was well within reach if they stuck to the basics.
If 30-3 on the previous day had left the Academy with a small mountain to climb, then 40-5 felt more like Everest. Once again, though, Harvey Hosein stood up to the challenge and together with Tommy Taylor, they set about blunting the Northants attack, soaking up the pressure and then finding ways to score.
They had put on 116 for the 6th wicket when Taylor was caught on the boundary. This brought Knight to the crease and he added further impetus to Derbyshire's innings with 34 off 17 balls before he was caught with 37 still needed for victory. Captain Ben Cotton then joined Hosein in an unbeaten stand of 41 to see the Academy home by three wickets. A thrilling finale and a great recovery. Hosein has now scored 206 runs for the Academy this season and has only been out once - a great achievement.
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