Will Jefferson admitted scoring an unbeaten 60 on his Notts debut was little compensation for missing out on a place in the semi-finals of the Friends Provident Trophy.
Lancashire 219-9 (Ealham 3-34)
Notts 134-1 (Jefferson 60*, Hussey 51*)
Notts won by 37 runs under Duckworth-Lewis Method
The 27-year-old guided the Outlaws to a comfortable victory over Lancashire with help from David Hussey, but the result counted for nothing as Warwickshire Bears claimed second place in the North Conference with a win over Durham.
And Jefferson couldn’t disguise his disappointment after the game, saying: “It’s gutting. I’ve been following the team’s progress in both the Championship and the Trophy day-in, day-out, waiting for my chance to contribute, and to help us do our bit with a win and still lose out is very sad.”
The 6ft 10ins opener signed from Essex in the winter, only to suffer a hamstring injury on a pre-season trip to Portugal that ruled him out for more than six weeks.
He returned to find the Notts batting line-up in excellent form and played twice for the Second XI before getting the call from Director of Cricket Mick Newell.
Unsurprisingly he took a while to find his stride after opening the batting with Stephen Fleming and didn’t hit his first boundary until the 14th over.
But in partnership with Hussey, the pair put on 101 in 16 overs before rain brought an early end to proceedings with Notts well ahead of the required total under Duckworth-Lewis.
Jefferson added: “I found it quite hard work early on. I’ve only played a couple of Second XI matches since recovering from the injury and I’d say this is a few levels up from that standard.
“But I was pleased I was able to raise myself up to the occasion and didn’t panic. I knew that their first-change bowlers didn’t have the experience of the likes of Jimmy Anderson and Dominic Cork, and in the end my patience paid off.
“I’m delighted I got to spend some time in the middle but certainly feel there are areas for me to work on. The last chat I had with Mick Newell, we were aiming for me to be involved in the Twenty20 Cup matches.
“That would be great and I’m feeling fresh and raring to go if picked. There’s plenty of competition for places but that brings the best out of people and I’m looking forward to a strong second half to the season.”
Jefferson was brought into the team in place of Bilal Shafayat, while AJ Harris came in for Paul Franks.
And it was Harris who struck first for Notts to remove the dangerous Mal Loye, one of two catches for Mark Wagh.
Mark Ealham was the star of the show with the ball, taking 3-34 from his 10 overs to restrict the visitors to a very gettable 220.
Lancashire stumbled to 69-4 under the pressure before Steven Croft and Cork staged a mini-recovery, only for Stephen Fleming’s inspirational bowling change to bring on Hussey bringing reward with the wickets of both batsmen.
And despite Fleming and Wagh falling cheaply at the start of the Notts innings, Jefferson and Hussey were always in control of the run-chase.