Fast and furious is all fine with Steelbacks coach Ripley

Steelbacks stars Alex Wakely and Mohammad Azharullah

Steelbacks stars Alex Wakely and Mohammad Azharullah

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Northamptonshire head coach David Ripley is making the most of the busiest time of the season as he prepares his men for a trip to Cheltenham tomorrow.

The Friends Life t20 is in full flow with the Steelbacks riding high in the Midlands, Wales & West group.

They sit second in the section with three wins from their four games and are closer to leaders Glamorgan having inflicted a first loss of the campaign on the Welshmen at the weekend.

Now they head for Cheltenham to take on Gloucestershire as they continue a run of five Twenty20 matches in eight days.

Having entertained Glamorgan on Sunday, they face Gloucestershire away (Tuesday), Somerset at home (Wednesday), Warwickshire away (Saturday) and Worcestershire away (Sunday).

Not that Ripley minds.

“They are coming thick and fast,” he said of the schedule. “But we are looking forward to those games.

“It’s a balance between practice and rest - that’s how it is in this competition.

“We are looking forward to going to Cheltenham. When we played Gloucestershire at home we played as well as we have done all season.

“The great thing is to be in the competition.”

That is a sentiment echoed by one-day captain Alex Wakely.

He has led his men to a position where they are in with a genuine chance of progressing - something that has not looked likely in recent seasons.

He is, however, still urging a little caution.

He added: “A lot of people are getting very carried away with the start we have had.

“We are playing very good cricket at the moment but we are not getting carried away.

“If we look after our batting and bowling the results will take care of themselves.

“We knew we had enough talent in the squad to do well. We are just enjoying our cricket.”

The Steelbacks game against Gloucestershire gets under way at 2.30pm tomorrow and forms part of the Brewin Dolphin Cheltenham Cricket Festival.