Ripley has the backing of Northants board during difficult season

David Ripley did his best to don a smile for as long as possible after last week's defeat to Worcestershire Rapids, but you could feel the pain of the Northants head coach.

Thursday, 2nd August 2018, 8:00 am
David Ripley is trying to mastermind a Northants revival (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

A man who has been involved with the County for 30 and cares so deeply about the club is having a tough time trying to mastermind a revival right now.

Northants have failed to win any of their seven Vitality Blast matches this season and last Friday's nine-wicket loss to the Rapids on home soil was nothing short of an evisceration.

It was excruciating to watch as the Steelbacks bowlers were smashed all around Northampton.

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And after a lengthy chat with his players in the home dressing room, head coach Ripley made his way down the stairs and fronted up to the media in typically affable and friendly fashion, even though the questions were far from easy to answer.

"I feel accountable for results," Ripley said.

"We had a board meeting the day before the (Worcestershire) game where we talked about how the season has been going and I felt supported by the board, which was nice.

"I think there was a realisation from the board that others are catching up and spending a bit more cash.

"We've been in a tough place financially and we're stabilising, which is great because it's a wonderful club, we need it here and we can't be rash. I understand that.

"We've got to play the long game but at the moment, I feel there are some realistic views of where we are and we've got to improve. That's my job.

"It's not overly enjoyable when you're looking down the bottom of the league rather than the top.

"I feel a bit of pain but I feel I've got the oomph and the desire to turn it around."

Under Ripley's stewardship, the Steelbacks have punched above their weight for years.

They won the T20 tournament in 2013 and 2016, also reaching the final in 2015.

Ripley has done an incredible job since stepping up from coaching the club's Academy in August 2012.

And there is no doubting just how much he cares about Northants, having played for the club from 1984 to 2001, scoring more than 10,000 runs and taking more than 900 catches in all forms of the game as a wicketkeeper.

"If they cut me in half... that old adage!," Ripley said, smiling.

"I've been here 30 years and I think the club and I have been good for each other.

"I think I've been good for the club as a player, an Academy coach, a first-team coach. We've had some success and I'm proud of that.

"The club has also been very good for me. I've been here all that time, I've had a benefit year, I've got a lot of friends around the town so we've been good for each other.

"I am feeling a bit of the pinch, but I hope I'm here for a few weeks yet!"