Nottinghamshire go into their final home County Championship fixture this morning holding a 22 point lead at the top of the LV= County Championship.
Visitors Yorkshire still harbour their own aspirations of lifting the table but they go into the game in third place, just 3pts behind Somerset but 25 adrift of Notts. With only two matches remaining for each side the importance of this weeks contest cannot be over-estimated.
Last month heavy rain washed out the final session when the two sides met at Headingley Carnegie, with Yorkshire 39 runs ahead but with only two wickets left standing.
Over the 147 years that Nottinghamshire have hosted the White Rose county they have met on 123 occasions. Between 1960 and 1991 thirteen of the meetings were played at the Town Ground in Worksop. Otherwise Trent Bridge has been the regular venue, where 22 home victories have been registered, 32 away wins and the remaining 56 clashes were drawn.
One year ago a second innings 149 from Jacques Rudolph secured a final day stalemate. Although his current team-mate, Adam Lyth, also reached thee figures the previous year (his maiden first class century) Notts won thanks to a seven wicket haul from Mark Ealham in the second innings, giving him ten victims in the match.
"Chris Read is the leading wicketkeeper in the country, in terms of dismissals, with 59 (55 catches and 4 stumpings) and is also the closest home batter to reaching 1,000 first class runs."
The Tykes haven’t won a championship game at TB this century – their last success coming by 3 wickets in a low scoring game in 1999.
Almost a hundred years earlier they pulled off another victory which still sits embarrassingly at the top of Nottinghamshire’s ‘worst ever’ column. Wilfred Rhodes (6-4) and Schofield Haigh (4-8) whipped out their hosts for just 13.
Last month David Hussey scored Nottinghamshire’s first-ever double ton at Headingley and Tim Robinson is the only one to do it at home against Yorkshire – hitting 220 not out in 1990.
Another notable feat belongs to George Gunn, who scored a century in each innings in the 1913 encounter – but even that outstanding contribution pales into insignificance compared to Franklyn Stephenson’s ‘career game’ in 1988.
Before him only another Trent Bridge favourite, Richard Hadlee, in 1984, had achieved the modern ‘double’ (ie 1000 runs and 100 wickets in first class cricket, since the number of games was reduced in 1969). ‘Franky’ went into the final game of his debut season for us, at home to Yorks, still well short on the number of runs. He reached his landmark by making scores of 111 and 117 – and celebrated by taking eleven wickets in the match also. Staggeringly, Notts somehow contrived to lose the contest!!
Although it’s been an all-round team performance this season that has taken them to the top of the table after fourteen matches, there are one or two individual stats to note going into this weeks match.
Andre Adams, with 58, is now the leading wicket-taker in Division One this season, Chris Read is the leading wicketkeeper in the country, in terms of dismissals, with 59 (55 catches and 4 stumpings) and is also the closest home batter to reaching 1,000 first class runs. He has 886 so far, with Ali Brown next closest on 883 and Mark Wagh on 809.
Nottinghamshire are within sight of their fourth county championship title in recent times. The successes of 1981, 1987 and 2005 were well merited – and the players deserved the plaudits that came their way. Let’s hope that the current crop of ‘green and gold’ get their due reward over the next few days!
Good luck lads!
Dave Bracegirdle will provide ball-by-ball commentary on Nottinghamshire's LV= County Championship match against Yorkshire.