Ripley wants Northants to maintain 2016 momentum
It will be a case of trying to pick up where they left off for Northants on Friday morning.
David Ripley’s men welcome Glamorgan to the County Ground for the County Championship Division Two opener.
And the sight of the Welsh side arriving should fill Northants with confidence, given they managed to defeat Glamorgan home and away last season.
The 318-run home success against them started a run of three successive championship wins that saw the County finish the campaign with a flourish.
And they would dearly love to maintain that momentum this week.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Ripley said.
“You want to start well and it’s nice to come out of the blocks quickly.
“We’ve got those three championship matches in the early part of the season and it would be nice to come out of them with some good individual performances and good team points.
“The start of the season is always an exciting time because no one has lost any games, everyone has got it all to play for.
“We feel we finished the season strongly last season in red-ball cricket and we’re hoping to get out of the blocks quickly in the opening three games and give ourselves the opportunity to fight hard with the teams in the top half of the league.”
And Northants are happy to have home comforts in their season opener.
“It is nice to start at home,” Ripley said.
“We played Glamorgan twice last year and we played well against them. I’m sure they will be aware of that and they will talk about trying to put right some things they didn’t do so well against us.
“We played well in those games and we’ll be hoping to start well, put them under pressure and hopefully come out on the right side of the result.
“They’ve got quite a nice, balanced side.
“They’ve got experience in their seam with (Michael) Hogan and (Graham) Wagg, a couple of experienced players.
“They also bat pretty well and their overseas player and captain (Jacques Rudolph) is a good batsmen.
They’ve got a Kolpak player in (Colin) Ingram who bats well so they’ve got a good, balance side.
“But we have had the better over them in the past couple of encounters and if we can start well and put them under pressure, some of the doubts about us having a sign over them will start to crop up.
“But I’m sure they will be well prepared, the first game of the season is a big one and they won’t be taking a backward step.
“They will think they can come here and beat us and the beauty of division two is that it’s a pretty open competition.”
With Nottinghamshire and Durham having been relegated from division one at the end of last season, division two looks as difficult as ever this time round.
And Ripley said: “I’m sure Notts are red-hot favourites to go back up.
“Sussex and Kent I believe are the next pairing.
“We’ve got good records against Kent in recent times, but we believe in terms of the other teams who are in there, there’s an opportunity for us to throw our hat into the mix, given how well we finished last year.
“The fact the season doesn’t have to overcrowded four-day, one-day, four-day, one-day format going on to much - the 50-over competition is in a block and we’ve only got one championship game in the T20 block - helps us with a small squad.
“We want to come out the blocks well, get some confidence going and get points on the board to put us around the top of the league, and that’s where you want to be coming into the home stretch.”