Test Match Sofa
Sales decision delayed, Stone signs
By Paul Bolton, County News Correspondent
Northamptonshire have delayed a decision on whether to offer a new contract to senior batsman David Sales when his existing deal expires at the end of the season because of concerns about his fitness.
Sales marked his return to senior action after seven weeks out with a torn hamstring by making a century in the LV= County Championship match against Glamorgan at Wantage Road on Sunday.
But the 34-year-old also missed part of last season with a similar injury and Northamptonshire have told Sales that they want time to assess his fitness before offering him a new contract. Sales has requested and been given permission to speak to other counties and his details have been circulated to them.
"David is keen to stay with us but at this moment in time we have decided to wait and see how things go over the next four to six weeks with his fitness,” said Northamptonshire chief executive David Smith.
"We were delighted with his form against Derbyshire on Friday and his hundred against Glamorgan on Sunday but fitness is an issue. He has missed a lot of cricket over the last two or three years. We have quite a young team and we need to make certain that our senior players are going to play a full part in all forms of the game."
Sales is also likely to have to accept a pay cut if he does decide to stay at Wantage Road. He was able to negotiate a lucrative contract five years ago when Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire were both rumoured to be interested in signing him.
Instead, Surrey-born Sales opted to stay with his adopted county for whom he made a double century on his first-class debut against Worcestershire at Kidderminster in 1996.
Meanwhile, Northamptonshire have signed Norfolk seamer Olly Stone on a two-year contract. The 18-year-old has progressed from Northamptonshire’s senior squad and made his first-class debut in the LV= County Championship match against Yorkshire at Headingley earlier this season.
Stone has also played in two Clydesdale Bank 40 matches and four Friends Life t20 matches this season and Northamptonshire believe he has a bright future in the game.
“We are very pleased Olly has signed. Olly has been with Northants since he was 13, and we have seen him develop as a person and as a cricketer. He bounced back from a stress fracture and has been absolutely fantastic this season," said Northamptonshire interim coach David Ripley, who was previously the county’s academy director and second team coach.
“The support staff have helped him along the way but Olly deserves this contract after all of his hard work. This is a fantastic outcome for all involved.”
Stone has played Minor Counties cricket for Norfolk and made his Northamptonshire debut in a CB40 match against Durham at Chester-le-Street last season. “It is great news for me and I was very happy to accept the contract offer from Northants. I never expected my season to go as well as it has, and I’m glad to have been given the opportunity to show what I can do for the club,” Stone said.
“I had a fantastic winter after coming back from injury, and that has carried me into this season. The support I have received from everyone here at the County Ground has been fantastic. I can only hope to continue my progress and help Northants be competitive in all forms of the game going forward.”
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