Ripley: Control first up and Northamptonshire will be promoted

Pace bowler Luke Evans has been included in Northamptonshire's squad for their final County Championship game of the summer
Pace bowler Luke Evans has been included in Northamptonshire's squad for their final County Championship game of the summer

One more example of first-innings domination from Northamptonshire and they will be promoted.

That is the way they must look at tomorrow’s trip to Worcestershire - a game from which they need just five points to secure their place in the LV= County Championship Division One next season.

With nearest rivals Essex some 20 points behind and a maximum of 24 available from each game, the County know if they can score 400 first-innings runs they will be clear of the chasing pack no matter what happens elsewhere.

With three bonus points also there for bowling a side out in the first innings, any combination of success over the next couple of days should be enough.

And head coach David Ripley expects them to continue their habit of performing well in the opening sessions.

“We have played pretty well first up for most of the season and hopefully that will continue,” he said.

“We have come out of games with more bonus points than the opposition because we have been using the first innings to shape the game.

“The only exception to that was against Lancashire but one blip out of 15 games is not too bad.

“We need to do that again.

“But Worcestershire won’t just hand it to us. They are not going to roll over.

“Players are always looking to impress at this end of the season and we are going to have to be on our game.

“Having said that it is nice that we haven’t got the pressure of needing to win the game.

“There is always the chance of some bad weather about and it’s good that we haven’t got to try to force a result.”

The County will take a 13-man squad to New Road with Lee Daggett missing out.

It means the 30-year-old seamer, who is retiring at the end of the season to take up a role as physio at Northampton Saints, has played his last game for the club.

Into the travelling party come spinner Graeme White, paceman Luke Evans and all-rounder David Willey.

Willey, who was today named in the England Performance Programme squad to tour Australia during the winter, missed the last game because of a back injury.

Ripley explained: “We picked Lee on a ‘horses for courses’ basis because we thought the ball might nip about in the last game.

“But we feel Worcester favours a taller, hit-the-deck bowler like Luke so he has been brought in for this trip.

“However, the likelihood is that, if David Willey is fit to play, we are unlikely to go away from the four-man seam attack that we have used all season.”