Northamptonshire head coach David Ripley acknowledged the fact that Steven Crook’s let off on the second morning was a pivotal moment in the County’s 10-wicket thrashing of Worcestershire in the Championship.
Crook was put down by Aneesh Kapil on the square-leg boundary when he had scored just six, and he went on to make a match-turning 85 as the hosts earned a first-innings lead of 118.
This was barely passed by the visitors who were skittled for 125 in their second effort to leave the County with a minimal target of eight to win.
Ripley said: “The games we’ve had, there have been key passages of play and yesterday (on day two) we were 140 for six and the lower order kicked into gear and not for the first time we posted a reasonable lead.
“It’s been a theme of our cricket that the tail’s wagged, not that you can call it a tail with David Murphy batting 11, but they came up trumps and the pressure with the ball has been relentless.
“It was the key little part of the game (Crook being dropped). Often you can’t point to one bit of a match that can go four days, but that was very key.
“Steve (Crook) was hitting the ball very well and if he bats for an hour then he’s going to score heavily.
“He got good support from Midders (James Middlebrook) who had to work hard, Trent and David Willey looked in good touch.”
That set the stage nicely for Trent Copeland who signed off from his stint at Wantage Road with figures of six for 41 as he passed 50 competitive wickets for the club.
And Ripley reserved words of praise for the New South Welshman, saying: “It’s a simple gameplan he’s got but it’s very skilfully delivered.
“He’s swinging the ball both ways, he’s not pace, he’s hitting the seam and not giving the batsmen the chance to score.
“He’s got an aggressive nature, and he’s a real handful.”
“He’s been great for us, we hope that we can get him back but it gives some other members of our squad the chance to fill his boots.”