T20 FINAL: Ripley’s pride as Steelbacks storm to Natwest Blast title

PRIZE GUYS - the Northants squad celebrates as Alex Wakely lifts the NatWest T20 Blast Trophy at Edgbaston (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
PRIZE GUYS - the Northants squad celebrates as Alex Wakely lifts the NatWest T20 Blast Trophy at Edgbaston (Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
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David Ripley says he was ‘very proud’ of his Steelbacks players after they sealed NatWest T20 Blast glory at Edgbaston.

The Steelbacks saw off Nottinghamshire Outlaws by eight runs in the semi-final before earning a four-wicket win against Durham Jets in the showpiece.

Both games showcased the strength of character in the County squad as they battled back from 15 for three against Notts and nine for three against Durham.

Ben Duckett blasted 84 in the semi-final before Josh Cobb hit 80 in the final, with Alex Wakely key in both innings, making 53 and 43 respectively.

And after having his T20 medal placed around his neck, Ripley said: “I’m very proud.

“We were under the pump a bit with the batting in both games and each game was decided by two outstanding individual efforts.

“Wakers played very well in both games and to come back after going three wickets down is very good. Wakers was a big part in both of those partnerships.

“We bowled and fielded pretty well and I’m very proud.

“We’ve been under the pump before and we turned up today with no (Richard) Gleeson, we didn’t manage to get (Seekkuge) Prasanna back, but Rob Keogh came in and took two absolute blinders (catches).

“You’ve got Ben Sanderson making a good contribution and it was fantastic. I’m really proud of the performance of the players.”

The Steelbacks players celebrated with unsurprising vigour as they lifted the trophy, spraying Champagne on the rain-soaked Edgbaston outfield.

And when asked to sum up what this triumph meant for Northants, who also won the T20 competition in 2013 and were runners-up last year, Ripley said: “It means a great deal.

“We waited 21 years for a trophy and now we’ve had two come fairly quickly so it means a great deal to everyone at the club.

“A lot of people put a lot of hard work in, at board level, behind the scenes and the players, and they were magnificent again today.”