Coach Ripley wary of Sussex backlash as Northants head to Hove

Head coach David Ripley has warned his Northants players to expect a backlash from Sussex when the two sides meet in their crucial LV= Insurance County Championship clash which starts on Thursday.

By Jeremy Casey
Thursday, 27th May 2021, 10:21 am
Gareth Berg (left) and Ben Sanderson claimed 19 wickets between them in the County's win over Sussex at Wantage Road three weeks ago
Gareth Berg (left) and Ben Sanderson claimed 19 wickets between them in the County's win over Sussex at Wantage Road three weeks ago

The showdown at Hove comes just three weeks after Northants hammered the south coast side by an innings and 120 runs at the County Ground.

It was a humiliating defeat for Ian Salisbury's side, with seamers Ben Sanderson and Gareth Berg taking 19 wickets between them as Sussex never recovered from collapsing to 25 for seven on the first morning.

The two sides come face to face again this week, with Northants needing a win to maintain their challenge for a top two finish in Group 3.

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Northants head coach David Ripley

It will be the first time Sussex supporters will have had the chance to see their team play since September, 2019, and Ripley said: "If I put myself in Sussex's shoes, they will be disappointed with the first game against us and they will be looking to show they are much better than that.

"So I certainly expect a response, it is inevitable.

"If as a team you don't play your best, then you want to show you are better and that is what we are expecting from them.

"They are at home, and they have got supporters in which does change the dynamic of the match.

"The forecast is for good weather, there will be few in the ground, and I am sure they will want to put on a display for their supporters."

Northants go into the game in fourth place, 22 points behind second-placed Yorkshire, while Sussex are fifth, a further 12 points back.

But Ripley feels that is something of a false position for this week's opponents, and said: "Sussex have been in some winning positions in their games, but they have just fallen away and lost a couple of games they could have easily won.

"That would certainly change the table around if they had beaten Yorkshire and Glamorgan when they were in good positions to do so, so we are expecting a tough match."

The County have named a 13-man squad for the game, with Brandon Glover being added to the 12 selected for last weekend's date with Lancashire.

That match was decimated by the wet weather, with just 34.3 overs of play possible at a very soggy Wantage Road, but it wasn't the worst that Ripley has experienced.

"There was that game at Chesterfield a few years ago where we never actually bowled a ball, and it was sunny every day! That was the weirdest one," said the head coach, who spoke of his frustration at the match being effectively wiped out.

"I was really looking forward to taking on Lancashire, as I believe they are the best team in our league, and they had Jimmy Anderson playing," said Ripley.

"We are playing some cricket so I thought it would be really good to see how we front up over four days, so it was an anti-climax that we didn't get the chance.

"As far as the league is concerned, we would have liked a few bonus points as well, but it's a draw with Lancashire and we move on.

"We have now played them twice and we have four more games to try and keep ourselves in that scrap for the top two.

"Yorkshire at home is one of those games, and that might be a big one, although we have a couple to play before that."

While Northants take on Sussex, they will also have one eye on what is happening at Old Trafford where Lancashire play Yorkshire in the first Roses derby of the summer.

The fact that the top two will be taking points off each other will be of benefit to the chasing pack, and also the fact they play again at Headingley in the final round of group games July.

"Lancashire play Yorkshire this week, and the play each other again soon after that so there are two games there where they will take points off each other, or one of them could win both games and really dent the other team," said Ripley.

"That's handy and it is good for us to know that, but it doesn't do us any good if we don't do our job, and if we lose to Sussex then they will probably be above us anyway.

"So we have to go down to Sussex and play well and see if we can repeat how we played against them at home."

As far as Sussex are concerned, they are without pace bowler Ollie Robinson against Northants as he has joined up with the England squad ahead of the first Test of the summer against New Zealand next week.

Jofra Archer, who played in their last match against Kent, is also missing as he has undergone surgery on an elbow injury, and the pair are replaced by Jamie Atkins and Ali Orr.

Northants squad to play Sussex: Adam Rossington (c/wk), Gareth Berg, Ben Curran, Brandon Glover, Rob Keogh, Simon Kerrigan, Wayne Parnell, Luke Procter, Ben Sanderson, Tom Taylor, Charlie Thurston, Ricardo Vasconcelos, Saif Zaib

Sussex squad to play Northants: Ben Brown (c/wk), Jamie Atkins, Jack Carson, Tom Clark, Henry Crocombe, George Garton, Tom Haines, Travis Head, Stuart Meaker, Ali Orr, Delray Rawlins, Aaron Thomason, Stiaan van Zyl