Northamptonshire coach David Ripley is ready for the step up to Division One
Last Updated: 02/04/14 2:41pm
Northamptonshire coach David Ripley is relishing the opportunity to sample Division One cricket following their promotion last season.
As well as earning top flight status, the Steelbacks also lifted the Twenty20 crown for the first time when they beat Surrey in a thrilling final.
Triumph in the shortest format, alongside a successful four-day campaign – winning three and drawing eight matches – was heralded as the club’s best season in decades.
Ripley admits 2013 was a season to cherish, but claims there is a heightened sense of expectation ahead of the new campaign.
“It was great,” he told Sky Sports News. “It was a fantastic season and we’ve got some great memories from that.
“Everyone is really excited about Division One cricket and defending the T20 trophy so we’ve got plenty to look forward to.
Really was a highlight of my cricketing career. I thought it was fantastic, the camaraderie was there all season for everyone to see and that just capped it off.
“There’s been plenty of talk about Division One and a bit of a step up and we’re looking forward to getting in amongst it and finding out for ourselves.”
Northants lifted their first major silverware since 1992 with a 102-run demolition of Surrey in the Twenty20 final and Ripley concedes the Edgbaston finals will not leave his memory any time soon.
“It was right up there,” he admitted. “Really was a highlight of my cricketing career. I thought it was fantastic, the camaraderie was there all season for everyone to see and that just capped it off.
“Lads who hadn’t played were still there at the final whistle, as it were, to celebrate with us and they’re memories we will keep forever; it was fantastic.”
One star of the 2013 Twenty20 campaign was Alex Wakely, but Northants will be without their limited over captain after he was ruled out for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
“We’re very sad for Alex,” Ripley added. “It happened on our pre-season tour, he had to leave early and it did put a bit of a cloud over it all for us.
“He’s a very popular lad, a great lad and he obviously lifted that trophy for us last year. We’ve got to try and support him through the next 12 months and I know he’ll come back stronger next year.”