By Taunton Draw
Match Report | 10th August 2012
Nottinghamshire’s hopes of lifting the LV= County Championship took a knock as their match against Somerset ended in a draw.
Elsewhere, title-rivals Warwickshire completed a 7-wicket victory over Worcestershire to stretch their lead at the top to 21 points.
Notts, on the wrong end of a crucial toss in the west country, and beset by injuries, finished the match on 176-5 in their second innings, with Alex Hales making 54 and James Taylor, 46.
Earlier in the day the home side had been dismissed for 249, with Graeme Swann taking two of the last four wickets to fall, to end with figures of 3-62.
"As I’ve said for weeks, I don’t think it’s a two-horse race- Sussex and Somerset are very much in it." Mick Newell
The result left Mick Newell disappointed but reflective.
“If you only play twenty overs over the first two days it’s very difficult on time and there wasn’t much likelihood of a result today, certainly not a victory for us,” he said.
“Six points isn’t much of a return for four days but that’s what we got. It was a horrible toss to lose under the circumstances. Last year, in almost identical conditions, we won the toss and bowled them out for 170 so it shows what can be done here.”
Regarding Warwickshire’s lead in the table, the director of cricket doesn’t accept the title is necessarily Edgbaston-bound just yet.
“No, as I’ve said for weeks, I don’t think it’s a two-horse race- Sussex and Somerset are very much in it still. We can only turn up next week against Durham and play to our best. We are going to be looking at numbers, with Taylor and Patel definitely out and we’ll also have to look at our seam bowling options.”
As with all the previous eleven championship matches this season Notts awoke to face a fourth day of competition. In bright sunlight they began the morning session needing to secure the final four wickets in the home side’s first innings.
With James Hildreth, unbeaten on 63 and debutant Abdur Rehman on 12 not out, Notts knew they had to make quick inroads before the Somerset lead reached challenging proportions.
Hildreth, with four career centuries to his name already against Notts, carried on in his usual composed fashion but lost his partner in the fifth over of the day.
Rehman (17), not content to be tied down, charged at Graeme Swann and fell to a fine catch by Ben Phillips, running and falling backwards at mid on.
With both Andre Adams and Harry Gurney off the field, Notts had used Paul Franks initially - but then turned to Adam Voges to bowl a few overs before the second new ball was taken.
The Australian’s third delivery prompted Hildreth (83) to loft into the safe hands of Wessels, also fielding at mid on. It was Voges’ seventh first class wicket for Notts but first since 2009.
Phillips saw off Alfonso Thomas (1) thanks to a slip catch by Hales, who could have ended the innings in the next over but put down Hussain, off Franks.
The wicket gave Notts maximum bowling points and their hosts were within one of their second batting point when Hussain (29) presented Swann with his third wicket, thanks to a diving slip catch by Voges.
Hales and Wessels safely negotiated a tricky five-over spell before lunch, whilst adding 19.
Wessels (22) had driven Trego down the ground twice before the break but his promising start was cut short when he flicked at Kirby and gave Trescothick his sixth slip catch of the match.
Michael Lumb (17) added 51 with Hales before snicking Trego to ‘keeper Buttler. Fielding sub Alex Barrow would have been delighted to see the back of the left-hander who twice swept Rehman into his body, causing painful blows.
Rehman bowled unchanged between lunch and tea, sending down 15 tidy overs, although he was pulled into the Somerset Stand for six by James Taylor on a rare occasion when he dropped the ball short.
Unbeaten on 49 at tea, Hales (54) advanced to his fourth championship half-century of the season immediately afterwards but then played across the ine and was given out lbw to Trego.
Taylor (46) was given out in the same manner, this time to Lewis Gregory, who kept the game alive with another wicket soon afterwards.
Chris Read, on his 34th birthday, clipped the same bowler straight to Rehman at mid on.
Adam Voges (8 not out) and Paul Franks (4 not out) provided enough resistance to persuade Trescothick to call off the game with 12 overs unbowled.
Notts remain unbeaten after twelve championship matches, with just home fixtures against Durham and Warwickshire to come, either side of trips to Edgbaston and the Kia Oval.