Ripley salutes 'Rolls-Royce' Gleeson after Steelbacks secure vital victory

Richard Gleeson grabbed three wickets for the Steelbacks (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
Richard Gleeson grabbed three wickets for the Steelbacks (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

David Ripley labelled Richard Gleeson a 'Rolls-Royce' after the pace ace helped to mastermind another key win for the Steelbacks on Thursday night.

And Ripley also had praise for Rory Kleinveldt and Richard Levi, who both played important parts in the 11-run success against Lancashire Lightning.

Gleeson grabbed three for 29, including the big wicket of England star Jos Buttler, as the Steelbacks managed to defend their 158 for four.

Kleinveldt finished with three for 16, and at one point had figures of two for two from three overs, while Levi's measured 71 was crucial in helping Northants reach a decent total.

And Ripley said: "Richard Gleeson just looks like a Rolls-Royce at the moment.

"He's got good pace, the yorker is coming out at will and he looks on fire.

Rory Kleinveldt was in fine form with the ball

Rory Kleinveldt was in fine form with the ball

"Rory bowled sensationally in the powerplay, hitting a perfect length.

"He's very experienced, he can assess the wicket and he was the one who assessed the wicket the best in how he changed his pace up a little bit.

"It's a shame he took a bit of stick in the final over because he deserved even better figures, but he's a big player for us, he makes things happen, he's a heartbeat for the team and I'm delighted he had a strong game.

"Richard Levi was really measured and when he bats well, we tend to bat well around him.

Richard Levi was forced off the field after a collision

Richard Levi was forced off the field after a collision

"He's got good experience and he shares that knowledge when he's out there.

"I've been pleased for him."

Levi was involved in a collision with Gleeson in the field while the South African was taking a catch.

And Ripley is hoping the injury is not serious for the batsman, who has already had a spell out with concussion this season.

"The previous injury dented his season and I hope he's okay," Ripley said.

"It was a hell of catch that he took.

"It was a kind of glancing blow to the head and he was a bit shook-up.

"It was horrible to watch it unfold because you could just see the communication hadn't gone well and they were heading straight into each other.

"I feared for both of them, they then seemed okay and Richard was still holding on to the ball to get the wicket.

"He's being assessed and fingers crossed he'll be strolling out at Worcester on Saturday."

On the overall display against Lancashire, which came two days after an agonising final-ball defeat at home to Birmingham Bears, Ripley said: "I think deserved the win for how we came out of the powerplay with our bowling.

"It was the flip side of Tuesday's game in that we came out of the powerplay there batting thinking we couldn't lose and we came out of the powerplay bowling here thinking we couldn't lose," Ripley said.

"But it got tight and it was a great partnership for them.

"We didn't quite use our slower balls that well, but it was a high quality partnership that nearly wrestled the game in their favour.

"We're really pleased because we were a bit down after Tuesday. We put a lot into that game and came out with a narrow defeat.

"It was important that we bounced back and the way we came out and fought in that powerplay was sensational."