Ripley excited as County’s season heads for its climax

Northants v Kent, County Championship, County Ground, Wantage Road, Northampton.'Rob Keough.
Northants v Kent, County Championship, County Ground, Wantage Road, Northampton.'Rob Keough.

It is an exciting time for all involved at Northamptonshire - a fact head coach David Ripley is happy to admit.

His side picked up a draw with Kent in their final LV= County Championship home game of the season to leave them needing just five points to secure promotion to Division One.

Northants v Kent, County Championship, County Ground, Wantage Road, Northampton.'Andrew Hall.

Northants v Kent, County Championship, County Ground, Wantage Road, Northampton.'Andrew Hall.

They take on Worcestershire in their last match next week and are on the brink of completing a hugely impressive season by joining the top flight.

With a Twenty20 crown in the bag and only narrowly missing out on the knockout stage of the one-day competition, it has been a great summer so far.

Now they just need to pick up a handful of points at New Road to make it mission accomplished in the County Championship as well.

“It’s exciting,” Ripley stated.

“There’s a lot of hard effort gone into this season from a lot of people at the club - led by the players.

“No one’s thinking about anything other than going there and just getting the points we need.

“That’s not over-confidence, that’s just based on a feeling of excitement about going there and finishing the job off that we started at Glamorgan back in April.

“We’re looking forward to going there and finishing the job off.”

Victory over Kent would have made promotion safe for them but with rain and bad light curtailing play that was never likely.

In the end it came down to accumulating as many points as possible.

Ripley added: “The weather has played its part in the game and the surface has favoured batting as it has turned out.

“But that has helped us in the end as we’ve gone looking for our bonus points.

“When we talked this morning it was about getting our five batting points, banking the draw and then handing it over to Essex to see if they could pull anything out of the bag.

“That was always going to be a long shot and we can now go into next week with a 20-point lead.

“We could play 100 games and we would back ourselves to get five points from 95 per cent of them.

“We’ve just got to make sure we turn up, prepare properly and pick up those points we need.”

One factor Ripley will be keen to see improve next week is in the field - although he will not mind at all how those vital five points come about.

“I was a little disappointed with our bowling in this game,” he continued.

“There was nothing wrong with the endeavour but we didn’t really have our best at the office.

“But we turned that around with the bat and did what we needed to do.

“At this stage of the season it is about grinding out and making sure you get over the line.”