Northamptionshire won their 2nd Natwest T20 Blast title © Getty Images
Northamptionshire won their 2nd Natwest T20 Blast title © Getty Images

Josh Cobb rounded off his season in style after a sparkling innings of 80 helped Northamptonshire beat Durham in English cricket’s Twenty20 final at Edgbaston on Saturday. He then revealed that he had undergone a painkilling injection and delayed knee surgery in order to be fit forSaturday, with Northamptonshire beating Durham by four wickets under the Edgbaston floodlights. There are several weeks of the English season left, but for the 26-year-old Cobb, his campaign is done. “This is the last time you’ll see me on the field this season,” he said. “I have been struggling with my knee. But I always believed that we’d be playing in a final and that’s the reason I’ve taken the painkillers and decided to battle through.”

Cobb was duly named man-of-the-match in the final for the second time in his career having taken four for 22 in Leicestershire’s Twenty20 triumph in 2011. “My one with Leicester was for bowling a few long-hops,” he joked. “To get it with the bat today, the position we were in, makes it very special. Cobb moved across the Midlands to join Northamptonshire three years later and his innings on Saturday saw the Wantage Road club recover from the dire position of nine for three to seal a four-wicket win.

Saturday’s success came just a day after Cobb signed a new Northamptonshire contract and he jokingly said: “I should have given it a few more days and I might have got a few more quid (pounds).” On a more serious note, Cobb added: “I wasn’t massively enjoying my cricket at Leicester, but I came here and they had an exceptional white-ball side which was part of the reason – to try and play in big games.

“I’ve really enjoyed my cricket, a great bunch of lads, the team spirit’s exceptional and I’ve been here two years and I’ve played in three of four possible quarter-finals and two T20 finals.”

– ‘Best feeling’ –

Northamptonshire, beset by financial problems have one of the smallest staffs in county cricket, with no England players to call on.By contrast, Durham, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire all welcomed back several England internationals on Saturday. But Northamptonshire beat a Nottinghamshire side featuring Alex Hales and Stuart Broad before seeing off a Durham team that included Ben Stokes and Mark Wood.

The only internationals in Northamptonshire’s side are the South African pair of Richard Levi and Rory Kleinveldt, who last represented their country in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Northamptonshire captain Alex Wakely insisted, however, that not having to change their team had worked to the benefit of his club.

“There’s always stuff written about Northants that’s not great,” said Wakely. “The fact we’ve got such a small squad means we’re not looking over each other’s shoulders. There’s no jealousy — it’s just the best feeling in the world.” He added: “We’ve managed to play pretty much the whole team all the way through the competition.

“You look at Notts — they’ve chopped and changed their side and it doesn’t always weigh up. “Greg Smith at Notts, for me, was one of the best players for Notts all year then he’s not playing — I don’t agree with it. You’ve got some international players, they’re going to come back and play, but we don’t have that problem.”