Ripley relieved as Steelbacks dig in to see off stubborn Somerset

David Ripley was a relieved man after his Northants Steelbacks team secured a tense nine-run win over Somerset Sabres at the County Ground on Sunday.

By Jeremy Casey
Sunday, 30th August 2020, 5:54 pm
Updated Sunday, 30th August 2020, 5:58 pm
Brandon Glover celebrates dismissing Ed Byrom
Brandon Glover celebrates dismissing Ed Byrom

And the head coach was delighted to see his team follow up their Saturday demolition of Worcestershire Rapids with a win of a totally different kind just 24 hours later.

Adam Rossington hit 51 and Josh Cobb 42 as the Steelbacks posted 171 for six in their 20 overs, and the game looked done and dusted as Somerset slumped to 116 for eight in reply.

But Roelof van der Merwe and Ollie Sale produced a stirring fightback to take Somerset to the brink of an amazing fightback, only for them to ultimately fall short at 162 for eight.

Ben Sanderson celebrates claiming one of his three wickets

"It was very nervy at the end, and our debrief afterwards was about the fact we have won two types of games over the weekend," said Ripley.

"It is great to go out and smash someone and play as well and as dominantly as we did against Worcester, but it is also nice to win these tight games as well.

"Because if you have two of those in a campaign go against you, they are massive, so getting the first one under our belt is great.

"It always looked tight, and the score we had was competitive because it was a bit tricky with the bounce facing the new ball, but we sensed it would be a tight game and that is what it proved to be.

"We kept taking wickets at key periods in the game, kept chipping away, and in the end that proved a vital factor."

Ripley admitted that he thought his team had got the job done when they took Somerset's eighth wicket, van der Merwe hit an excellent 41 from just 25 balls and Sale 14 from nine to take the match to the wire.

"We didn't know a lot about young Sale to be honest, I think this was his first game, so when he is wandering in at number 10 you think it is pretty much game over with them needing 14 an over," said the Steelbacks head coach.

"But when slotted one for six straight back over Brandon Glover's head you are thinking 'this guy can obvviously bat'.

"Somerset wouldn't go away and in that period of the game I thought we had won, but we couldn't quite shake them off until there were two balls to go."

And he added: "It just like a good all-round team performance with the ball and in the field, and Josh Cobb was excellent again with his tactical astuteness and he is really great in his role.

"But it was thanks in that middle period to Graeme White (who took 2-24) and Gareth Berg (2-31).

"They bowled in partnership, took wickets at vital times and controlled the run-rate and ended up pushing that rate up so much for the lads to defend it at the end.

"It was a really good team effort, and it is great to win these type of games.

"Historically, Somerset are a strong side, and I know they are still missing a couple of players who will come back, but if you finish above them then I think you are in good shape in this group."