Northants so keen to keep Championship momentum going

Alex Wakely is eager to help Northants claim more County Championship victories (picture: Peter Short)
Alex Wakely is eager to help Northants claim more County Championship victories (picture: Peter Short)

Northants skipper Alex Wakely has stressed how important four-day cricket is to the County.

And he knows a couple more wins could catapult his club up the division two table.

Northants secured their first County Championsip win of the season in their most recent outing, thumping Glamorgan by 251 runs.

It was a fine display and one that lifted them from the bottom of the standings up to seventh.

And the victory was made all the sweeter by the limited squad at Northants’ disposal, with many players forced to miss out due with niggly injuries.

Now Northants will look to make it back-to-back Championship victories when Leicestershire come to the County Ground on Saturday.

And Wakely said: “I personally have taken a bit of stick about our performances in the Championship.

“People say we don’t care – we definitely do, we’re just limited for options.

“We’ve got such a small squad that we have to rest players, if someone has got a niggle we have to rest them.

“But the win at Swansea has given us some confidence.

“We’re not far away – if you look at the top of the table, those teams have only won three games. So if you can win two games at this time of year you’re right back up there.

“We’re genuinely in a position to compete across all three competitions coming towards the end of the season – I’ve never had that at Northants and I doubt the rest of the players have so it would be great for the club.”

Northants’ decision to not to risk players in the game at Glamorgan paid dividends on Tuesday night, when they thrashed Middlesex by seven wickets to reach T20 finals day for the third year in four.

But despite the white-ball success - Northants are also in the quarter-finals of the Royal London One-Day Cup - head coach Ripley still presses the virtues of securing victories in the County Championship.

“Regardless of what happens with the white-ball stuff, who wants to be down the bottom of the County Championship?” Ripley said.

“We have small resources but Northamptonshire followers should know that we definitely do not want to be down the lower part of the table.

“We definitely take the Championship seriously – we do prioritise but the desire to win four-day games is definitely there.

“Sure, T20 wasn’t around when I played but for me there’s no better feeling than winning a Championship game.

“It’s a proper test over four days and we want that winning feeling in the Championship more often.”

Northants go into their 12th Championship match of the season 45 points behind leaders Kent, but with fixtures to come against all of the teams currently vying for promotion.

And Ripley added: “Just one team going up makes it difficult for us to think realistically that we could make a charge and win the league but we’ve got five games to go and If we can get on a roll who knows?

“We’ve got to play all the teams who are up there and they should be good matches.”