County return to Championship action with sights set on promotion

David Ripley is determined to steer Northants to promotion this season
David Ripley is determined to steer Northants to promotion this season

Northants return to four-day action this Sunday with their sights set firmly on promotion.

David Ripley’s men have won two of their 10 matches in Specsavers County Championship Division Two this season and are unbeaten in five games.

They will welcome Worcestershire to the County Ground for a game that starts on Sunday.

And there is every confidence in the County camp that they can achieve their aim of a place in division one.

With four games to go, Northants are fourth, 13 points behind Gloucestershire, who occupy the third and final promotion place.

Second-placed Glamorgan are level on points with Gloucestershire, while Lancashire are 28 clear at the top.

It means it is shaping up to be an exciting end to the season.

And Northants know a positive result is vital in the week to come if they are to keep pace going into the final three games.

“I’m pleased with the Championship so far because at one stage we were bottom of the league and it just didn’t seem right,” said Northants head coach David Ripley.

“I thought we’d played a lot of good cricket in the Championship and we hadn’t managed to force a win.

“We’d played very well against Middlesex in our first game and with a bit of luck we probably would have won.

“We played well at Glamorgan and we have played some good cricket.

“But we found ourselves bottom of the league when we went to Sussex and we played well to win there.

“We played well against Lancashire, who are top of the league, and we played well to win our last game, at Derbyshire.

“I feel those recent results are a better reflection of the cricket we’ve played.

“We were third and Gloucestershire have gone above us now but with three going up, we wanted to be in the mix and we are in the mix.

“But we’re not alone because it’s a very competitive league.

“It’s pleasing to be up there.

“It seems strange to say we’ve only got four games to go, and we’ve obviously played a lot of cricket but it doesn’t quite feel like that. It feels like we’re only halfway through the season.

“But to find yourself just outside of the promotion spots with only four games to go is a good place to be.”