After day two was completely washed out due to rain, the County endured a very tough day three on Saturday as they first failed to claim a fourth batting bonus point, and then allowed the home side to plunder 330 for five, with opener Ollie Robinson hitting a superb 120.
t was a tough day for the Northants bowlers, with left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan taking two for 80, and their toils followed on from an unexpected batting collapse that saw the County go from their overnight score of 362 for five to 392 all out.
That was a major disappointment for Ripley, but with eight points on offer for the draw, and with leaders Lancashire having already lost by six wickets to Glamorgan, he doesn't feel it is worth the gamble to set up a target for bottom-of-the-table Kent to chase on Sunday.
“There was a lot of talk in the morning about our strategy to get that batting point under our belt, which seemed straightforward given where we were, but then got a bit harder," said Ripley.
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"Ollie Robinson played very, very well and before you know it we’ve come second best.
“With the eight points for the draw I think the idea of us setting up some kind of false run chase will not really happen.
"There’s too much work to do to get to that."
Elsewhere in Group 3, second-placed Yorkshire need 10 wickets on the final day to see off Sussex at Headingley.
Replying to Sussex's 313 all out, the White Rose made a massive 558 all out, but the visitors had reached 38 without loss at the close of play on Saturday.