A Josh Cobb century was in vain as Billy Godleman’s maiden limited overs hundred guided Derbyshire to a seven wicket Group A victory at Derby that keeps them in contention for a quarter-final place in the Royal London One Day Cup.
Cobb’s 104 from 139 balls was the Steelbacks only innings of substance as they struggled to 231 on a slow pitch with teenage leg-spinner Matt Critchley taking 4 for 48 including three wickets in five balls.
With skipper Wayne Madsen making 52 in a second wicket stand of 104, the Falcons proceeded serenely to 232 for 3 although there was controversy when Northants reacted strongly to the umpires changing a ball while Godleman, who was unbeaten on 109, and Rory Kleinveldt were involved in a heated exchange.
Such a convincing victory looked unlikely when Derbyshire went into the game without Hamish Rutherford , who will return as their overseas player next season, after the New Zealand batsman was ruled out of the final two games of his current spell with thumb and abdominal injuries.
Rutherford scored a century in the previous game at Bristol but Derbyshire bowlers had the chance to make life easier for their batsmen when Northants were put in on a grudging pitch.
Although Cobb drove Ben Cotton for six, only 45 came from the first 10 overs and there was a hint of desperation to Richard Levi’s slog-sweep at Matt Critchley that looped to gully.
Cobb lofted Critchley straight for a second six but Rob Keogh was bowled trying to drive Shiv Thakor and at halfway, Northants were in need of momentum at 111 for 2.
Cobb drove Alex Hughes for a third six but it was not easy to get the ball away against disciplined bowling and Ben Duckett chipped Footitt to deep midwicket before David Willey’s attempt to break free ended in the hands of mid off.
Saif Zaib pulled a full toss to mid on, Steven Crook sliced a drive to deep cover and Cobb was in danger of being stranded when Critchley struck twice in his final over.
Kleinveldt played across the line and Graeme White drove his first ball low to mid off but Cobb, who did not hit a boundary for 21 overs, completed his hundred before Cotton yorked him.
Derbyshire started positively, taking 55 from the first 10 over powerplay, and were going well until Wes Durston was lbw playing back to White in the 16th over.
White and Willey denied Derbyshire a boundary for 48 balls but Godleman and Madsen rotated the strike patiently and denied Northants the wickets they needed to apply pressure.
The Steelbacks protested strongly when the umpires called for the ball Azharullah had been using to be changed in the 25th over and their frustration increased when Godleman opened up after taking 95 balls to reach 50 by twice launching White over long on for six.
Godleman and Kleinveldt went face to face when the South African had an appeal for a catch behind rejected and although Madsen was lbw a ball after driving Willey for six to reach 50, Godleman drove Kleinveldt for his sixth four to reach three figures before Derbyshire completed a second victory with 10 balls to spare.