The LV= County Championship season that began for Nottinghamshire back in mid-April when Kent visited Trent Bridge has come right down to the wire with the destiny of the title still undecided.
Over the next few days the eyes of the cricket-watching community will be firmly centred on three grounds in the north of England to see which of Notts, Somerset or Yorkshire will emerge to take the 2010 spoils.
Leaders Notts go to Old Trafford to play Lancashire holding a two point cushion at the top, second-placed Somerset are in the north east to face Durham whilst Yorkshire are the only contenders with home advantage, facing Kent at Headingley Carnegie.
The equation is simple for Notts – win and only drop a couple of bonus points (three and they could still do it on most wins!) and they would be sure to finish top, no matter what their rivals do.
If winning at Old Trafford has proved difficult in recent times though for the Robin Hood county – the same can also be said for their hosts. All four matches on the ground since the millennium have been drawn. Last year Adam Voges hit 95 for Notts whilst Ashwell Prince – who has also spent time on the Trent Bridge staff – added an unbeaten century for Lancs.
The last positive results for each side were in 1999 for the home team – and 1997 when Notts won by 6 wickets. Although it’s more than 13 years since that fixture was played two participants are also likely to be involved this week – Glenn Chapple and Paul Franks.
"The current crop of Nottinghamshire players have more than individual landmarks to strive for, with domestic cricket’s ultimate prize just one good performance away."
In all 94 first class games between the two at Old Trafford the overall head-to-head is shaded by the Red Rose county – 39 to 15, with 40 draws.
Only one Notts batter has ever registered a ‘double ton’ in Manchester, Reg Simpson compiled 238 in 1949. Mike Smedley, the current President, scored a century in each innings there in the 1971 match and director of cricket Mick Newell will also have fond memories of the ground having hit 116 in the 1987 draw.
The current crop of Nottinghamshire players have more than individual landmarks to strive for, with domestic cricket’s ultimate prize just one good performance away. There are, however, a handful of milestones which may come up this week.
Chris Read is currently leading the race to 1,000 runs for the season – beginning the week on 933 runs (904 in the championship and 29 in the first class friendly v Durham UCCE). Mark Wagh is just behind – his 90 on Thursday has lifted him to 921 and Ali Brown could also threaten if he has a good match – currently on
Andre Adams, helped by a four match sequence which has brought him 28 wickets, has now become the country’s leading wicket-taker with 66, just one ahead of Gloucestershire’s Gemaal Hussain. Read now also has 62 wicket keeping dismissals and has moved well clear of his closest rivals Jonathan Batty and James Foster.
Incidentally, much was made of the importance of the toss against Yorkshire. Statistics would say that the Notts skipper should have a good chance of calling correctly on Monday morning. In the 15 championship matches this season Chris has only won it on 6 occasions and has lost the last three tosses in a row!
Lancashire’s most recent ‘home’ fixture was played in Liverpool – but of the six championship matches played at Old Trafford this season they have won one, drawn four, and lost their most recent – against Durham last month.
One good performance will do it lads - good luck!
Dave Bracegirdle will provide ball-by-ball commentary on behalf of BBC Radio Nottingham throughout Nottinghamshire’s LV= County Championship match against Lancashire at Old Trafford.