The inability to grasp the critical moments in games is proving to be Northamptonshire’s Achilles heel.
That is the view of head coach David Ripley following his side’s 60-run defeat to Lancashire at the County Ground.
Resuming on 145-5 needing a further 95 to open their Division One account, the hosts could only add 34 more to their tally as the visitors ran through the lower order.
The defeat will be hard to take for the County who were well on top on more than one occasion but couldn’t make their supremacy count, much to the frustration of Ripley.
He said: “I feel like we’re competing well, getting stuck in and showing good effort and commitment but just when we get the chance to perhaps get a bit of a foothold in the game it’s just slipping past us.
“We had a couple of opportunities in this game, when they were five down and 80 ahead and even this morning, two lads who had battled hard last night were kind of in and needing less than 100 and I did think we’d get there but those key moments we’re just not grabbing.”
The thorn in the County’s side was Jimmy Anderson who, in a fine display of seam and swing bowling, recorded match figures of 10-89 in 48 overs.
But despite this, Ripley was confident before the final day’s play began that his side could knock off what was left of the target.
He continued: “The surface wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for but we did win the toss and got first use of it but he (Jimmy Anderson) was a threat all game and he bowled nearly 50 overs.
“We had a really good day yesterday (Tuesday) in terms of stopping that momentum early and getting what I thought was chaseable.
“That partnership between Ben (Duckett) and James (Middlebrook) gave us a bit of belief that we could win.”