Season can still be special, says Northants head coach Ripley

David Ripley takes his side to Trent Bridge on Monday (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
David Ripley takes his side to Trent Bridge on Monday (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Northants may have missed out on white-ball glory in 2017 - but head coach David Ripley knows this could still be a ‘special season’ for his side.

That is because the County remain in with a chance of claiming promotion from Specsavers County Championship Division Two.

With five matches to go, Northants sit third, 15 points adrift of second-placed Worcestershire and with a game in hand.

It is the kind of position Ripley craved when the season began and he knows they can banish their 50-over and 20-over disappointment in the weeks to come.

But to do that, Northants will have to overcome some steep obstacles, with two games against runaway leaders Nottinghamshire and one against in-form Sussex lying in wait.

“We haven’t had a quarter-final to look forward in the T20 but we’ve got a big game in the Championship,” said Ripley, who takes his team to Trent Bridge for a four-day fixture that starts on Monday.

“Notts are the best team in the league, they’ve shown that, so what a great fixture for us to get into.

“We’ve been disappointed that we haven’t qualified for the T20 quarter-finals, but we’ve got a big game to get stuck into and I’m looking forward to it.

“We’ve got a good side.

“We’ve got some good seam bowlers, which generally gives you a chance of winning four-day matches.

“We need our batting to fire and we wanted to be in a position going into the last five games where we had something to play for and we have.

“We’ll be pushing hard to get ourselves in there with one or two games to go.”

Nottinghamshire have yet to lose in the Championship this season.

But Ripley said: “I’m just looking forward to seeing us getting stuck in and it could still be a special season.

“We’ve just got to play our best cricket over four days and if we get in a position where we can win it, we’ve got to hammer it home.

“I feel we’ve got all bases covered, but we haven’t set the world alight with the bat and we’ve got to play well to give ourselves a chance.”