Ripley on why Northants decided against marquee nets for pre-season

Northants have decided against erecting a marquee to provide nets at the County Ground as part of their pre-season preparations.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 9:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 9:50 am
Northants decided against erecting a marquee for nets at the County Ground

With the club unable to travel abroad for any outdoor training in March as they normally would due to Covid-19 restrictions, the County had been considering the idea of a marquee net area on the outfield at Wantage Road.

It would have ensured the players get plenty of practice on grass wickets ahead of the new season, which starts in a little more than six weeks.

It is something that other counties, most notably Surrey, have done in the past, with Sussex also starting work in theirs this week.

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But head coach David Ripley has confirmed there will be no marquee at the County Ground, and that he and the Northants players will now be keeping their fingers crossed the weather gods are kind ahead of that first LV= County Championship clash of the season against Kent on April 8.

“We missed the window on the marquee,” said Ripley. “We had dallied a little bit as I would have still preferred to have gone away, but as soon as it became clear we wouldn’t be able to do that, we had missed the window.

“There was also an issue with cost because it is expensive to put up a marquee. It is £30,000-worth of kit, and at that time there was also still talk of the season perhaps being moved back a month.

“So if you put all that into the mix, that you could be spending £30,000 on a marquee and we are not starting until May 8.

David Ripley will be keeping his fingers crossed the weather is good over the next six weeks

“Then the impact of the marquee is really lessened, because we would hope to be outside well before the first game on the grass.

“So it was a calculated thing to let it slide and we will just go to old school and use the indoor school and then hope we can get outside on the grass ASAP. And if we have the weather we had last March and April then that would be great.

“We have friendlies lined up as well, we have two days at Hampshire, we have two days against Leicestershire, we also have our Uni game, so we have a bit of cricket that will hopefully have us ready for April 8.”

Covid-19 has put a temporary hold on the club’s partnership with Singapore Cricket.

Last season saw the squad fly out to the country just prior to the pandemic becoming a reality.

And although the trip was cut short as the coronavirus started to spread across the world, the stay was still deemed to be a success.

Northants have signed a three-year agreement to go to Singapore for a pre-season trip, and that arrangement will, all things permitting, resume again in the spring of 2022.