Steelbacks’ top-order stars must improve, says Ripley

David Ripley (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
David Ripley (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Head coach David Ripley admits Northants Steelbacks’ top order must improve after the county suffered a record-breaking 220-run defeat to Surrey at the Kia Oval.

It was a second disappointing batting display in as many Royal London One-Day Cup matches, following last Saturday’s 54-run home defeat to Durham Jets.

Chasing 344 to win, the Steelbacks were bowled out for 123 in just 24 overs, with only Ben Duckett, who hit 56, making any inroads.

And Ripley says his main batsmen need to look at every aspect of their game after suffering their heaviest one-day defeat in the capital.

The Steelbacks were 37 for four before making 259 against Durham last weekend and they found themselves at 27 for five against Surrey.

And Ripley said: “Obviously we’re not going to win many cricket matches from those positions.

“We do want to try and take the most out of the powerplay if we can, but if you come out three or four down it’s a very long way to win a game from that.

“The manner of our defeat is very disappointing, the players are disappointed with their efforts and we’re looking forward to putting that right on Wednesday (at home to Leicestershire).

“We’ve got to look at personnel, we’ve got to look at game plans, we’ve got to look at some technical things, got to dig around and try to come out better from the powerplay.

“In 50 overs we have got time to adjust to the surface, we’ve got to get some balls under our belts and build an innings, and just at the moment we haven’t found too many able to do that.

“It’s our individual skills that have let us down, dismissals and some of our bowling, and again we dropped some catches so that’s individual errors rather than the collective.”

Despite the crushing nature of the defeat, Ripley won’t be rushing into wholesales changes, partly because of the Steelbacks’ small squad.

But while the personnel is likely to remain similar, the coach did admit the batting order could come up for discussion.

Ripley said: “We haven’t got many players outside of this group to call on, we have some but we also have some niggles.

“I do talk about continuity of selection and I believe in that and that has helped us in the past.

“But it could only be an eight-game competition if we don’t quality so we can’t leave it too late and we’ve got to look at those things (changing the batting order) and Ben (Duckett) will certainly get plenty of discussion as he looks in good form.”