Northants red-ball captain Adam Rossington insists his dressing room always believed they could achieve promotion after moving to the cusp of a return to division one of the Specsavers County Championship.
Victory over Durham earlier this week was Northants’ fifth victory of the season - all under Rossington’s captaincy - and they now need a maximum of just four points from their final game, against Gloucestershire at Bristol this week, to be mathematically certain of promotion.
It’s a position that looked very unlikely when Northants were beaten by an innings at home to Glamorgan back in May.
A day later, Alex Wakely resigned as captain and a week later, Northants were bottom of the Championship after a rain-affected draw with Durham.
But Rossington says that despite how the table looked, the dressing room knew results would turn around.
“Even though we hadn’t got a win on the board, we never felt we were too far away,” said Rossington.
“We were just losing those key moments that decide matches. We were dropping catches and opposition batsmen were going on to hurt us. But the last six matches we’ve been excellent with all of our disciplines.
“Something we’ve spoken about is when we are on top really hammering our position home and in the last few weeks we’ve really done that well and that’s shown in the results.
“We always believed we had the ability to do what we’ve done. It’s just been a case of making sure we’ve backed up good days with another one to keep us moving forward in games and not letting our foot off the pedal.”
Bristol could be a venue for a double celebration with Gloucestershire also needing a maximum of nine points to join Northants in division one next season.
But confirming second place in division two holds great incentive for Rossington ahead of the fixture that starts on Monday morning at 10.30am.
“We still want to go to Bristol and win again,” he said.
“It’s obviously three teams getting promoted but it feels better if you finish in that second place.
"We’re adamant we want to turn up and do a job against Gloucestershire because you don’t want to have a poor performance lingering over you all winter.”
Northants' victory over Durham saw assistant coach Phil Rowe enjoy a final week at the County Ground before he steps down.
“He’s been amazing and it’s nice for him to sign off with a win,” said Rossington. “It’s so well deserved. He’s very well liked in the dressing room and a very good coach.”
Rowe has spent 15 years on the coaching staff with Northants, working with the Academy, then as bowling coach before becoming David Ripley’s assistant.
“I’m not going to be a stranger to Wantage Road - I couldn’t be,” said Rowe.
“I played my first game for Northants in 1977 as an under-13 so it’s been in my system since then and will continue to be.
“People have been so lovely in saying goodbye but it’s all about the players.
"They’ve got themselves into this position and finishing the season with promotion would be a great way to sign off what’s been a pretty good last few years.”