Skipper Wakely confident Steelbacks will peak at the right time

Steelbacks captain Alex Wakely
Steelbacks captain Alex Wakely

As a passionate Saints supporter, Alex Wakely knows all about peaking at the right time.

A couple of weeks ago, he watched on as his beloved rugby club bowed out at the play-off semi-final stage of the Aviva Premiership.

A season of hard work, that saw Saints top the Premiership table for the first time in their history, went up in smoke against fourth-placed Saracens.

The Barnet-based team went on to beat Bath in the grand final last Saturday to complete a remarkable turnaround, having only sneaked into the top four on the last day of the regular season.

Wakely was there to see the Sarries-Bath showpiece, having purchased tickets in the hope that Saints would make it.

A year earlier, he was forced to pay sizeable sums to attend the dramatic Twickenham win against Saracens.

But his team won, making it worthwhile.

And he is now taking inspiration from the rugby format as Northants look to rebuild in this season’s NatWest Blast T20 competition.

He knows it is not how they start in the group stage - David Ripley’s men have lost both of their opening two games - but how they finish their 14-match campaign.

And after last week’s defeat to Warwickshire - a team who perfected peaking at the right time to win last season’s T20 at Edgbaston - he was remaining upbeat.

“It will be nice when all the games come in a block,” said Wakely ahead of a two-week period when Northants play four times in the T20, including three times in four days next week.

“When you have to play one and then wait another week, it’s frustrating. You just want to play them back to back.

“You can also get the plans more in place when you play each day.

“We’ve still got plenty of games to go. You can’t win the competition in the first two games and how good would it be now sitting bottom of the table to turn it around and still get a home quarter-final?”

Northants’ next game is at home to Worcestershire on Friday night, with matches against Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Yorkshire to come before next week is finished.