Head coach David Ripley says Northants are ‘where they want to be’ heading into the final three matches of the Specsavers County Championship Division Two campaign.
Northants launched themselves up to second and into the promotion places with a thumping 10-wicket win over Worcestershire at the County Ground on Tuesday.
Needing to take another six wickets in Worcestershire’s second innings on day three, Northants bowled them out for 223 just after lunch and it left only 34 for victory.
Rob Newton and Ben Curran saw off the target in only 4.3 overs to complete a 22-point win, lifting them above Glamorgan and into the top three.
Third-placed Glamorgan were hammered by leaders Lancashire and now trail the County by five points, although three other games in this round of fixtures are still in play.
The Worcester match was one the County completely dominated and with Leicestershire, Durham and Gloucestershire now to play in September, promotion is in their own hands.
And that is music to the ears of Ripley, who has seen his team win three of their past four Championship matches to fly up the table.
“Every morning we said how well we’ve played and picked out individuals who have been particularly strong and over three days we’ve been the better side and won very very well,” said Ripley.
“There was a very important partnership between Alex Wakely and Dwaine Pretorius that set us up.
“Historically we’ve found it difficult to get in when batting has been at it’s easiest but here we did that and those two played exceptionally well.
“Ben Sanderson’s highly skilled new ball spell set us on the way and on the final morning the over with two wickets changed the belief of both sides and I always thought we’d win from there.
“We’ve got a good haul of points and are wedged in up at the top of the league.
“I’ve thought we’ve played some good cricket all season and now getting over the line a few times has got us to where we want to be with three games to go.”
It was a match to forget for Worcester, who probably did well to take it so far having at one stage in their first innings been 58 for seven, only to recover and post 186 all out.
Head coach Aln Richardson said: “We’ve been outplayed for the duration of the game.
“We had glimpses of some good performances from individuals but collectively nothing anywhere near sustainable enough to compete.
“We haven’t produced at the top of the order this season. We backed ourselves to get through the first session of the game but couldn’t do that.
“Brett Hutton bowled really well but you have to battle it out and build because from there, the wicket was good for a day and a half.
“They did the basic things for longer than we did and when that happens it makes it very difficult.”
Before that trio of crucial Championship matches, Northants now turn their attentions back to the white ball game and the T20 Vitality Blast.
They have four games remaining and an outside chance of claiming a place in the quarter-finals, with their next test a trip to Derbyshire on Friday night.