Northants seek timely boost as One-Day Cup begins

Last season, it was red-ball cricket that held Northants' season together.

Thursday, 17th May 2018, 12:08 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:28 am
David Ripley is hoping Northants can get off to a winning start in the One-Day Cup (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

They were in the County Championship Division Two promotion shake-up until the closing stages of the season, when they were eventually edged out by Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire.

But this time round, they will be hoping that white-ball cricket can prove something of a saviour rather than leaving a sour taste in the mouth.

While Northants won nine four-day matches in 2017, they struggled in the Royal London One-Day Cup, prevailing in just one of their eight group games.

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But with their Championship campaign having got off to a hugely disappointing start, they will now look to the 50-over tournament to give them the shot in the arm they require.

The County have lost three of their first four four-day matches this season, with the other of those games being a total washout against Durham in Northampton.

Now they can forget about the Championship until the home game against Leicestershire on June 9.

Before then, Northants will play all of their group matches in the One-Day Cup, starting with a clash with Leicestershire at the County Ground on Thursday (start time 11am).

The Foxes will be buoyed by their incredible Championship win against Glamorgan, as they won that game by just three runs following a stunning fightback from the Welsh outfit.

And head coach David Ripley knows just how difficult it will be for Northants to get off to a winning start in the One-Day Cup this week.

"It's going to be a tough game," Ripley said.

"Leicestershire's troubles of late have been more in the Championship, but they've got some very good white-ball cricketers and they've turned us over in white-ball cricket in recent times.

"We're expecting a really tough game.

"They've got a new coach, Paul Nixon, who has started well and we're expecting a really tough game."

Ripley saw his side lose their opening two games in the One-Day Cup last season, putting them on the back foot immediately.

They eventually finished second bottom in the North Group, with only Warwickshire below them.

And Ripley said: "You look at the competition, and it's a tough comp.

"You've got to play really well to finish in the top three now.

"We're looking forward to it because we haven't started particularly well in the Championship.

"It's a new competition and in a few weeks, we will know whether we've played well enough to get through."