Frustration for Ripley ahead of a key week

Steelbacks interim head coach David Ripley
Steelbacks interim head coach David Ripley

David Ripley admitted to feeling slightly frustrated as his first game as interim head coach of the Steelbacks ended in a rain-affected eight-wicket defeat to the Gloucestershire Gladiators.

Having reached 31-4 before the rain arrived at the County Ground, the Steelbacks were forced to defend just 23 in five overs under the Duckworth/Lewis method and it was a total the visitors reached with ease to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Friends Life T20.

For Northants, it brought the curtain down on a miserable campaign, during which David Capel was sacked as head coach.

And while there was frustration for Ripley, he insisted he was pleased to finally see some cricket ahead of a key week as the Steelbacks take on Derbyshire in front of the live television cameras in the Clydesdale Bank 40 on Friday before resuming their LV County Championship Division Two promotion bid at home to Glamorgan on the following day.

“Given the weather we have had, the toss was always going to be important,” Ripley reflected.

“We played an extra seamer because we expected it would do a bit and it was always going to be difficult once we had been put in.

“But I still fancied we could get 120 on the board and defend it but once the rain had come back it made it tough and Gloucestershire chasing 23 under Duckworth/Lewis was always going to be straightforward.

“So yes, it was frustrating but it was nice to play some cricket.

“It was the first time we have had the chance to play since I was given this opportunity and it was good for the guys to get out there.

“We know that in the long term our one-day cricket has got to improve. We have still go opportunities to improve that in the remainder of the season, with the first chance being on Friday.

“But in the short term we are looking at the four-day game and we are in a situation where a lot of our one-day matches are the day before a Championship game starts.

“So we will have to look at that when it comes to selection but we will be looking to do well in both forms later this week.”

Youngster Ben Duckett was part of the Steelbacks team on Sunday and Ripley felt it was important for him to be involved before he links up with his England Under-19 team-mates later this week as they start to prepare for the ICC U19 World Cup in Australia.

“It was important for him to be part of the squad and, although he wasn’t out there long because of the weather, he performed well against one of the best bowlers ever (Muttiah Muralitharan),” Ripley added.

“It is probably the last time we will see him for this season but it was good to get him involved and I know that in the long term he is going to have a good future at Northants.”