Head coach Ripley admits final game in charge was 'a bit of a disaster'

"It was a bit of a disaster to be honest."

Saturday, 25th September 2021, 10:36 am
David Ripley

There was certainly no sugar-coating of things from David Ripley as he looked back on his final game as the Northants head coach at Essex.

The County endured a humiliating LV= Championship Division Two hammering at Chelmsford, being bowled out for 81 and 45 to lose by an innings and 44 runs inside 97 overs.

It was the shortest four-day Championship match in history, and was certainly not the way Ripley had hoped to mark the end of his 10-year spell in charge at Wantage Road.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Things went awry from the moment skipper Adam Rossington won the toss on Tuesday morning and chose to bat, and they didn't get much better at any point until the game was ended little more than 24 hours later.

The County's first innings saw them rushed out for 81, and after Essex were bowled out or 170, Northants were 23 for five at the close, before succumbing to defeat at 11am on day two.

After the dust had settled on what was a terrible way to end the season and his his time in charge, Ripley admitted: "It was a bit of a disaster to be honest.

"From my own perspective we kind of cocked the toss up, and we got a bit pre-occupied with how it would play and spin later.

"It was a used pitch, so it wasn't a brain-dead decision because the wicket did spin.

"We just underestimated the moisture that was in there and the sideways movement, so we put ourselves under the pump to bat first.

"That obviously didn't go so well, and we then had that graveyard 10 overs in the evening which didn't go well either.

"It was just disappointing all-round, and there weren't too many highlights, other than Emilio (Gay) who played well and grafted in that first dig (he scored 38).

"Essex have a good opening bowling pair in Sam Cook and Jamie Porter and that was tough, but Emilio came through it pretty well."

The County were not happy with the state of the wicket, but Ripley accepted there were some poor shots played as well, although he admitted the players were under instruction to be attacking in the second innings.

"We didn't play as well as we would have liked, and in the second innings in the morning we obviously didn't and it went particularly poorly," he said.

"We had talked about Luke Procter digging in for us, because that's what he does well, and the other guys going out and hitting the ball.

"We wanted to try and be a bit more pro-active rather than just sit there and maybe chug our way up their score and lose.

"We wanted to try and create some pressure and win, and certainly Josh Cobb's dismissal and Saif Zaib's dismissal were down to their intent to score, which we had talked about.

"But we were already 15 wickets down by then, and then Rosso got a good ball, so there was plenty of assistance for the bowlers."

On the match surface, the 54-year-old said: "I don't quite know what the wicket was marked, but we made our thoughts clear.

"Having had a wicket marked below average against Somerset last year when the game was over in two days, I don't see how it can be marked anything other than below average."

It all meant Ripley's time as head coach came to an end in pretty dismal fashion, and he added: "It was a bit gloomy afterwards, but the lads picked themselves up.

"It was a pretty grim cricket match for us, but when you get to the last game of the season there is always a bit of a send-off, you get together for a team meal, and we did that."