Notts Aim To
Repeat 1984 Success
Comment and Analysis | 4th July 2010
After a gap of almost a month Nottinghamshire return to LV= County Championship action on Monday when they begin their four day encounter with Essex at the County Ground, Chelmsford.
Notts’ last fixture, the draw against Kent at Tunbridge Wells, ended on Monday 7 June and up until this week they had managed to hang on to top spot in the Division One table.
By virtue of the maximum bonus points they gathered from their drawn Roses match, which concluded on Thursday, Yorkshire have now sneaked back into pole position – but only by one point, having played two matches more.
The Trent Bridge side now venture south to a ground where they have only tasted championship success once – and that was way back in 1984. On that occasion the win was set up by the bowlers. Having scored a relatively modest 264 themselves, Notts skittled the home county for just 93, with Kevin Saxelby and Clive Rice sharing seven of the wickets. Having enforced the follow-on, a six wicket burst from Kiwi all-rounder Richard Hadlee set up a ten wicket victory.
Since then the home side have emerged victorious on three occasions, whilst the other four matches have been drawn.
"Mick Newell, Notts’ current Director of Cricket, will still remember the 133 he hit in August 1987."
The overall sequence of fixtures of between the two sides at the County Ground, Chelmsford began in 1938 and saw the home side emerge victorious by 197 runs. There have now been thirteen meetings on the ground, with Essex holding an overall 6-1 lead, with the other six games all drawn.
There have been some notable individual and team performances – many of which were encapsulated in the 2007 game, the last occasion on which the sides met at New Writtle Street.
Essex scored a mammoth 700-9 declared in their first innings with major contributions coming from James Foster, who hit 204, Andy Bichel with 148 and Graham Napier 125.
The response was not only emphatic, it was record-breaking. In compiling an all-out 791 (from 212.5 overs) Notts reached their highest ever first class total, as well as compiling the highest score ever achieved on the ground.
Chris Read led the way, top-scoring with a career-best 240, making it a unique instance of both wicket-keepers scoring a double hundred in a first class fixture. Further tons came from Samit Patel, who scored 117 and Mark Wagh, who hit 107, with Graham Swann making 97.
In a tame final session, as the game reached its inevitable drawn conclusion, even Read came on for a rare bowl to complete an even rarer triple of batting, keeping wicket and bowling on the same day.
Other Notts players who’ve enjoyed their visit to Chelmsford over the last quarter of a century have included Eddie Hemmings, who took 7-102, in 1986, Paul Johnson, who hit centuries in both 1986 and 2000 and Mick Newell, Notts’ current Director of Cricket, who will still remember the 133 he hit in August 1987.
This years meeting comes on the back of the rain-ruined clash at Trent Bridge five weeks ago and sees Notts bidding to return to winning ways in the championship – having gone three matches without a victory, since beating Durham on 13 May.
Both squads will be depleted, due to injuries and international call-ups, but having shown their Friends Provident t20 credentials in recent weeks it’s time now for Notts to re-establish their title aspirations in the four day game and win at Chelmsford for the first time in 26 years.
Dave Bracegirdle provides ball-by-ball commentary from all of Nottinghamshire's LV= County Championship matches. Listen live during play via http://www.bbc.co.uk/nottingham