Ripley calls on Steelbacks supporters to keep flocking to County Ground

Fans flocking to the County Ground on Friday nights don't like cricket these days - they love it!

Friday, 3rd June 2016, 7:00 am
The County Ground will host the Steelbacks' clash with Worcestershire tonight (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

That could well be Northants Steelbacks’ tagline as they seek to further increase crowds at their home, which looks set to be the scene of plenty more magical T20 nights this season.

It certainly will be if last Friday’s action was anything to go by, with the Steelbacks hunting down Derbyshire Falcons’ 195 for seven to secure a second successive victory in this season’s competition.

It was a record run chase in T20 cricket from David Ripley’s men, who were the Great Entertainers in last season’s competition.

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And the head coach is now hoping that plenty more fans pack into his side’s atmospheric ground as the County seek to go one step further than last year, when they were runners-up to Lancashire Lightning.

“We were at Leicester the week before last and they had their floodlights for the first time, but it’s such a vast playing area there that it didn’t seem to create the atmosphere we can create here,” Ripley said.

“We’ve got a nice, tight, small ground, the stands are close, the lights are good and I hope people in Northamptonshire are getting used to their Friday nights down the cricket.

“We really need that level of support, not only for the team but also our finances so we can push that cricket budget up a bit and we can improve the squad.

“We’ve got a great bunch of lads working hard, but we’re thin on numbers and certainly people coming out and enjoying their T20 cricket will only help that (ability to bring players in).”

Northants’ financial difficulties have been well documented, but, despite their limited budget, they have still managed to produce a 20-over team of real note.

The likes of Richard Levi, Ben Duckett and Rory Kleinveldt - and the list goes on - are capable of lighting the blue touch paper at any moment.

And the fans who opt to go to watch T20 action are rarely disappointed.

The second-placed Steelbacks will host table-toppers Worcestershire Rapids this Friday night and Ripley is hoping his side can maintain their early momentum.

“We had three defeats from the first three games last year and we did make the final, but that just shows how well we played,” he said.

“We did get that momentum going, but it is nice to get it earlier in the campaign.

“Roll on this Friday night! We’re looking forward to it.

“We love this format, we’ve had success and we look forward to getting going again.”

And those thoughts will undoubtedly be echoed by the supporters who take the decision to grab a ticket for what promises to be another fun-filled Friday night at the cricket.