Recently, we set a competition which asked you to send in your reviews of the 2008 season in no more than 750 words.

The standard of the writing received was extremely high and as such, we’ve decided to award the prize to two winners.

Congratulations are in order for both Roderick Howlett, 13, from Newark and Kaman Atwal, 14, from West Bridgford, who will both win the opportunity to shadow our Communications and Media Manager, Michael Temple, on a weekend Twenty20 Cup match during 2009. They will follow Michael as he conducts pre and post-match interviews with the players and also chat to other members of the Press during the day.

At the end of the day, they will compose a 300-word report on the game, which will be used on the club’s website and read by thousands.

Both winners will also be presented with a bat signed by the 2009 squad.

Their efforts are printed below:

Roderick’s review:

It has been a roller-coaster season at Trent Bridge - exciting but sometimes dejecting as we nearly won so much - déjà vu for many a Notts supporter.    Four countries came to Trent Bridge.   In a classic Friends Provident battle, Ireland’s Kyle McCallan just missed the 6 needed to win.   In the England v New Zealand Test we saw a great Jimmy Anderson spell of 7 for 43.   In the second innings Ryan Sidebottom took 6 for 67.   Kevin Pietersen also hit a decisive 115.   On the Sunday, the lack of play disappointed, but nothing could dampen the mood of a wonderful series win for England.   Finally, what was set to be a cracker of a match turned out to be a South Africa throwaway.   South Africa’s batting order collapsed, so though you wanted England to win you also wanted South Africa to make a fantastic comeback and make a match of it.  

This year we produced five England players: Darren Pattinson, whose selection provoked unnecessary fury amongst the media, notwithstanding that he reached rather better bowling figures than the already popular Stuart Broad, whose batting and bowling have come on tremendously.   Samit Patel was called up for the South Africa one day series, where he took five wickets in one match and also proved the perfect batting partner for Flintoff.   Sidebottom had an average international season, mainly because he has been injured.   Finally, Graeme Swann has had an on/off relationship with England but has generally been there for Notts with both bat and ball.  

In the Championship, unfortunately Notts could not quite cross the finishing line, partly because of rain on those last days at Taunton.   However, we should never use rain as an excuse.   We should have won triumphantly against Hampshire, but Imran Tahir ripped through our somewhat feeble order.   We were eventually placed second best - something for the boys to improve on next season.  

In the Friends Provident we needed a win against Leicestershire at Oakham to secure a home tie but rain once again prevented this.  We were set a ridiculous target of 28 off about 2.3 overs.   We then had to face Durham, the defending champions, who beat us and returned to haunt us in all formats.  

In the Pro 40 we played spectacularly with Shreck, Pattinson, Swann and  Adams all taking wickets and others performing with the bat.   After two disappointing losses under floodlights we pressed the self destruct button in the match against Sussex and they pulled off the amazing feat of 18 from the last over, with a tired Shreck being hit for the winning six by Murray Goodwin.   Fans around the ground were disappointed: even I was left in silence.   The Sussex supporters rubbed it in by celebrating very extravagantly.  

In the 20/20 we were supported by the decent batting of Adam Voges and Chris Cairns.   We reached the last match of the group stage, where we desperately wanted a win.   However, it was not to be.   Just to rub salt in the wounds, even though Yorkshire’s pass through was ruled illegal because they fielded an un-qualified player, Azeem Rafiq, we were not given a second chance.  

Charlie Shreck was the player of the year for his tireless work rate and consistent bowling.   Our only player to get 1000 runs in the Championship was Mark Wagh, a natural stroke player of true cricketing skill.   Chris Read captained for this season.   He could not quite keep his batting average afloat, but kept well and held his field together with the help of more talkative players such as Swann.   Bilal Shafayat started the season badly, not being able to score anything over 20.   However, Mick Newell gave him a second chance and he started converting fifties and then hundreds.     As a firm crowd favourite and a technically able batsman, it would be good to see him blossoming consistently.  For the latter part of the season, Ashwell Prince came and had trouble scoring runs, perhaps because the pitches he was playing on did not suit him.  

Finally, the need for consistent opening batsmen was often highlighted this season.   Will Jefferson and Matthew Wood, when putting their minds to it, can make decent scores, but even with spells in the seconds it did not look as if it was going to happen.   If Paul Johnson works with them and Bilal over the winter, it could be a different story next season. 

The next chapter of the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club could be very bright.

Kaman’s review:

Before the season started, we Notts supporters were anticipating an exciting season, after the ground developments pre-season. The New Stand and permanent floodlights added to the impressive ground, which is among the most impressive in the country, if not the world. After promotion from division 2 of the Championship in the 2007 season, the thoughts at the start of the season were to do well in Division 1. But none of us expected such a roller-coaster of a season, which didn’t end in silverware, but did provide us with some great memories.

Notts went to Kent for the first match of the season, in the County Championship. It is probably fair to say that not many of us expected Notts to demolish an impressive Kent line-up, and win by 10 wickets, thanks to Charlie Shreck and Darren Pattinson taking apart the Kent batting order in the 1st innings, and a magnificent 130 not out by Mark Ealham.

Twenty20 has taken the cricketing world by storm and Nottinghamshire is no different. Huge crowds turned up to witness great cricketing entertainment, and Notts finished 4th in the North Division. Although the results sometimes left us in despair, and sometimes in joy, it is fair to say that everyone turning up to witness the Twenty20 action were impressed with the action, and enjoyed themselves while watching the cricket.

If the crowds attracted by the Twenty20 action were huge, the crowds at the international matches were indescribable. Trent Bridge continued its reputation as a great international venue, hosting the England-NZ test match and the ODI between England and SA, in which we saw England demolish South Africa, with Stuart Broad winning Man of the Match for an impressive bowling display.

Speaking of our England players, it is well known that fast bowlers Broad and Sidebottom are key members of the national team, but there were also call-ups for Samit Patel, Graeme Swann and Darren Pattinson, as well as David Hussey spending the whole season away, playing for Australia, which is no achievement to be belittled. Swann had been England’s ODI spinner in Sri Lanka in the winter, and for the NZ ODI series, and Patel took over the reins for the ODI series against SA, picking up the Man of the Match award for a fantastic bowling display in the 3rd ODI, taking 5 wickets for just 41 runs. Mick Newell can certainly be pleased with the progress certain members of his team have made this season.

The 2008 Pro40 tournament campaign can be seen in different ways from a Notts perspective. On one side, it is disappointing that we were 1 ball away from winning the league, but on the positive side, we can be happy that we played extremely well to get into that position, and were unlucky to be defeated, thanks to a Murray Goodwin last-ball six. However, this wasn’t the only dramatic match of our Pro40 campaign. The floodlit match against Lancashire, in front of the Sky Sports cameras, ended in a 1 run defeat, another unfortunate, yet exciting, narrow loss.

The disappointment of the Pro40 didn’t stop us from pushing for the County Championship. After being promoted from division 2, it was not expected that we would come so close, yet again, to winning another major title. For most of the season, people looking at the Championship table would have seen Notts at the top, in pole position, and going into the final round of matches, the Trent Bridge faithful were buzzing at the chance of winning the 1st division in our first season back.

However, it wasn’t to be. An agonizing batting collapse in the first innings, and agonizing second innings centuries from Pothas and Dawson, prevented us from defeating Hampshire and handed the title to Durham. Although another title had been taken from Chris Reads grasp, there are positives to be taken out of the 2008 season and into the 2009 season. After coming so close to the top tier of the championship, we can try and build on this and go one step further this time. We can also be confident in our ability to win one day silverware, after impressing this season. Mick Newell has an impressive squad to build on, and add to, and the future is looking bright for Notts CCC. Next season, hopefully we will go one step further, and possibly win the championship. It’s not beyond our capability.