Northamptonshire Chairman Gavin Warren says that ‘honesty’ has been the buzzword around the County Ground this winter, and that the Board of Directors has confidence in the coaching staff and playing group to take the club back to the lofty heights it has enjoyed regularly this decade.
The 2019 Specsavers County Championship campaign is fewer than two weeks away, with the Royal London One-Day Cup also beginning within the next month, and Warren has been encouraged by what he has seen over the winter’s training.
“The key word this winter has been ‘honesty’,” he says. “The players sat down with each other at the end of last season and said that 2018 was not acceptable and not at the level they wanted to play at.
“They’re professionals and want to play at a high level and have come up with a code of conduct that was presented to the Board, and while we’ll have to wait and see what the outcome is in terms of performance the preparation, the fitness levels, the recruitment, everything they set out in that paper has been achieved.
“No balls have been bowled or faced yet, so we’ll see how successful that plan is.”
Despite the County seeing relative under-performance in 2018 compared to the success experienced in both the Vitality Blast and Specsavers County Championship in the preceding five years Warren says that there was no hesitation in continuing to back Head Coach David Ripley and his staff as they brought fresh thinking to their approach to the new season.
“We believe in our coaching set-up,” he added. “Rips has been with us a few years now, and it can be easy to get rid of someone if they have a bad season, as we see in other sports.
“We don’t think that’s the case at all, we really back Rips, and we’ve encouraged him to recruit who he wants and have given him some more money as well, and we will back them all the way.
“He deserves it because of what he’s achieved, winning the T20 twice and reaching the final, as well as promotion in 2013, and they’re going nowhere. They know what they’ve got to do and are empowered to do it.”
Warren also says that a key focus of Northamptonshire is to be a hub for cricket across the region, not just in Northampton and the immediate surrounding area, commenting that “it is key to our future.
“Our role as a County is to take cricket to the surrounding counties and we’re doing a lot of work in Luton, Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, all around, to try and engage in that community. That’s also where we pick players up from. It’s important that we connect with people there.”
The 2019 Specsavers County Championship campaign begins against Middlesex on Friday, April 5th. Season Tickets remain available, with supporters able to watch all 41 days of scheduled cricket from just £6.50 per day. For full details about Season Ticket options and booking information head to www.northantscricket.com/season-tickets