Coach Ripley knows Steelbacks have to find T20 form

Northants Steelbacks coach David Ripley
Northants Steelbacks coach David Ripley

Northants Steelbacks head coach David Ripley has warned his team they will be in a ‘pretty grim position’ if they don’t find form in the NatWest T20 Blast this week.

The Steelbacks face three games during the next four days with Thursday evening’s home clash with Derbyshire (start 6.30pm) followed by tomorrow’s game at Leicestershire and Sunday’s trip to Yorkshire.

Ripley’s men, who still have 11 fixtures to complete in the North Group, are desperate to get some wins on the board, having lost all three of their matches in the competition so far.

And although he knows the finish is more important than the start, the coach is aware that without some immediate successes, his team will be in a really sticky situation.

“It’s about getting momentum at the right time and that’s not necessarily at the start,” said Ripley.

“You can get it at the beginning and it can fizzle out, leaving you hanging on a bit at the end.

“Obviously you don’t want to lose your first three games - I’d be silly to put my hand up for that. But if we can start playing some better cricket, those three games will be massive.

“If we continue to be as inconsistent as we have been, by the end of those games we could be in a pretty grim position.”

The Steelbacks head into the tricky T20 triple-header on the back of a tiring County Championship Division Two clash with Essex.

And though Ripley admits the schedule could be kinder, he will not allow it to be used as an excuse.

“It’s a tough period of cricket that we’ve got, but it’s the same for every coach, every team,” he said.

“When they come thick and fast like that, it’s wearing on the squad, but we’ve got a good squad.

“We’ve got some good guys who aren’t playing and we’ll dust ourselves off and hopefully be on the front foot this week.”