Sadler 'disappointed' as Ripley's head coach stint ends with record-breaking defeat at Essex

Assistant coach John Sadler says the Northants players and management team are 'disappointed' at the send-off they gave David Ripley at Essex this week.

By Jeremy Casey
Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 5:22 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 5:24 pm
David Ripley's final match in charge of Northants ended in a humiliating defeat at Essex
David Ripley's final match in charge of Northants ended in a humiliating defeat at Essex

A send-off for the outgoing head coach which ended up breaking records for all the wrong reasons.

The County suffered a serious humiliation at Chelmsford, losing by an innings and 44 runs to Essex in a little more than a single day's play.

Northants were bowled out for just 81 in their first innings, and things got even worse in the second as they were dismissed for a shocking 45 - Essex needing just 33 balls on Wednesday morning to claim the five wickets they needed for victory.

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Northants assistant coach John Sadler

Sam Cook finished with five for 20 to complete his first 10-wicket match haul, while Shane Snater rushed through the lower order to grab four for seven.

The entire match was completed in 96.3 overs, making it the shortest four-day County Championship match in history.

It 'bettered' the previous record which was set in 1999 - and one that also involved a woeful Northants batting effort.

On that occasion, the clash against Kent lasted 109.5 overs and saw a Northants side including the likes of Rob Bailey, David Sales, Tony Penberthy, Russell Warren, Kevin Curran and Graeme Swann dismissed for 69 and 86 as they lost by an innings and 12 runs.

The embarrassing second innings effort of 45 all out also matched the County's worst total against Essex, and was the 16th worst in the club's first-class history.

Only four batsmen reached double figures across the two innings, with Luke Procter's 23 from 56 balls comfortably the best effort in a shocking second innings in which tom Taylor (8) was the only other batter to score more than four.

Only one other batsman, Rob Keogh, lasted more than 10 deliveries, with Simon Kerrigan, James Sales, Saif Zaib and Josh Cobb all recording ducks as they used up just 15 balls between them.

It was the worst possible way for the team to mark the end of Ripley’s tenure in the top job, with Sadler stepping into the role ahead of next season.

“It is a shame that Rips’ last game ended like that,” admitted Sadler, who is also the Northants batting coach.

“We wanted to put a fight up for him and give him a better send-off than we did.

“As coaching staff and players we were disappointed in that regard."

Despite their precarious overnight position of being 23 for five and still trailing Essex's first innings of 170 by 66 runs, the County went for an attacking approach with the bat, and the move backfired spectacularly.

“The thinking was that there was still plenty in the wicket and we were still behind the game and we wanted a positive approach on Wednesday morning,” Sadler said.

“We wanted to go down fighting and put a bit of pressure on the opposition but it didn’t work out.

“They bowled well and sometimes it doesn’t go your way but the damage was done on the first day."

Asked if some of the shots played were a bit too careless, Sadler said: “I’d agree with that (that some shots crossed the line), but it is one of those where you have a plan, you try to stick to it and if it doesn’t come off, so be it.

“I can’t fault the lads for the team buy-in. The pitch wasn’t dangerous, it wasn’t up and down, it just seamed.

“They bowled very, very well and found the edge and sometimes it just happens."

Sadler also accepted that the decision to bat first on Tuesday morning after winning the toss was, in hindsight, not the greatest call.

“We got the toss wrong," he admitted.

"We thought it would be a better pitch than it was and we hold our hands up, sometimes you get things wrong.”

Essex had been bowled out for a modest 170 in their first innings themselves, but it proved enough - so much so that they didn’t have to bat again.

The hammering at Essex brings the curtain down on a mixed season for Northants, and the 10-year head coaching career of Ripley.

He can't have endured many more difficult matches than this one.