The luck falls on the Steelbacks’ side in the north west

Maurice Chambers picked up three early wickets in Lancashire's reply
Maurice Chambers picked up three early wickets in Lancashire's reply

David Ripley was thankful for a bit of good fortune as his Northamptonshire Steelbacks side kep their hopes alive in the Royal London Cup.

A 19-run victory over Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford was the outcome on a typically damp Manchester evening and Ripley, whose men need to beat Essex in their final game next week and hope other results go their way, was relieved in the aftermath.

He said: “The rain looked like it was coming, we knew we were ahead with the early wickets and it could’ve come in three minutes earlier and it would’ve been a no-result so it was nice to have a bit of the rub of the green.”

As for the performance, which wasn’t without fault by any means, Ripley paid tribute to Richard Levi who made a savage 68 at the top of the visitors’ order which formed the foundation of a total of 200-8 from their 40 overs.

He added: “We played reasonably well. Richard Levi, we were indebted to him, his innings was by far the innings of the match and helped us get a reasonable score and we started well with the ball.

“We just concentrated on this game and when we get to the Essex game we’ll see where we are.

“That’s an unexpected bonus (that they can still qualify), we’ll get the Notts game, which we’re looking forward to, out of the way and then it will be good that we’ve got something to play for next Thursday.”

Before the Essex contest, there is the matter of a County Championship clash with Nottinghamshire which starts tomorrow (Friday) at midday and while admitting the crowded calendar is far from ideal, Ripley knows that it isn’t just his side in that particular boat.

“The schedule’s difficult for everybody and it’s been a little bit better for us of late,” he said.

“We had our six weeks where it was a bit brutal and I guess this is a pretty tough trip, getting home late and turning it round for a championship game tomorrow but it’s the same for Notts and for everybody.”