Ripley hails dominant Steelbacks after Somerset are beaten

The Steelbacks secured a crucial win against Somerset (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
The Steelbacks secured a crucial win against Somerset (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

David Ripley felt Northants Steelbacks controlled their game with Somerset throughout, as they made it two wins in two days with a four-wicket triumph at the County Ground.

Ripley had said following Friday’s defeat at Derbyshire Falcons that the fixtures against Worcestershire Rapids and Somerset were must-win.

And his team have delivered, with Monday’s success coming hot on the heels of the memorable 21-run triumph against the Rapids at New Road on Sunday.

Those wins’ have seen the Steelbacks move right into contention in Group A ahead of their final two group games in two weeks’ time.

And Ripley admitted he was delighted that those matches, against Gloucestershire and Yorkshire, will not be dead rubbers.

“These two games were must win after the Derby game and we did, not in a straightforward manor but we’ve got our two wins,” the Northants head coach said.

“I thought we controlled the game pretty well tonight. I guess it would have been nice for one of the guys who was in to get us over the line a bit earlier but it’s still a good win.

“We’ve under-clubbed with the bat, little individual performances here and there, but as a collective we’ve not come up with the goods and that partnership between David (Willey) and Ben (Duckett) meant we were in a very comfortable position.

“Yesterday’s win obviously did a lot for the spirit in the camp and it’s good to go into a little break knowing we’re somewhat in contention when we come back to those two games.”

David Willey was the star of the show, smashing 91 after being moved up to open the batting for the first time in the competition this season, in place of Richard Levi.

The move paid instant dividends, and after seeing his side struggle with the bat for much of their opening five games, Ripley was delighted to see the change pay off.

“We talked about making a little change at the top, maybe it wasn’t quite working for Rich Levi and maybe it wasn’t quite working for David down the order so I was pleased both of those two contributed,” Ripley said.

“Ideally we want guys being not out at the end and making sure there’s no little twists but it was good to have a more commanding batting performance, and David Willey was central to that.

“It was a really top innings, he paced it well, he has immense power but he invested some balls in getting in and when you make a little tweak like that it’s nice you have a bit of instant reward.

“I’m pleased for Dave and Richard, who made a nice contribution coming in at number three.”

Ripley was also quick to praise spinner Graeme White, who took four for 37 as Somerset were restricted to 247 for eight from their 50 overs.

And the coach admitted the season has been a slow burner for the left-arm spinner.

Ripley said: “He bowled really well, just the pace for the wicket, he spun the ball, he took wickets and he kept the rate down.

“I was really pleased for Graeme as his season has stuttered a little bit.

“He’s had to wait and bide his time and he’s been a good team guy and I’m really pleased he’s had a good last few games.

“He bowled very well at Derby and really contributed to us winning that game tonight.”