On a topsy-turvy first day Nottinghamshire’s first match at Southport in 21 years ended with them fighting back inside the last half hour to reduce Lancashire to 86-4 in response to a first innings effort of 203 all out.
At one stage Notts were reduced to 27-5 but fought back with valuable runs from the lower order. Darren Pattinson enjoyed a fine day, making 35 not out and then bowling thirteen tidy overs which deserved more than the sole wicket of Karl Brown.
Pattinson says it was a shell-shocked dressing room.
“We thought we’d bat well on a pretty good surface but found ourselves losing three wickets in an over early on,” he said.
“A couple of partnerships got us back in it, indeed all of the lower order deserve credit for doing a pretty good job.”
With Luke Fletcher as his partner, Pattinson helped add 58 for the final wicket.
“Luke fancies himself as a batsman and likes to go over the top when he can,” said Pattinson.
“I had to keep reminding him that the longer we stayed together the less we’d have to bowl.”
Looking ahead, the paceman feels his side are very much still in the contest.
“They’ve got a nightwatchman in. If we can get rid of him early and bowl in the morning as well as we did towards the close then hopefully we can make sure they don’t get a big lead – if a lead at all.”
At 10.30am Chris Read won the toss and elected to bat first, with Luke Fletcher replacing Charlie Shreck in the starting line-up.
The first eight overs brought 18 runs, with Alex Hales opening alongside Neil Edwards for the first time this season. Edwards (10) hit a couple of boundaries but then nibbled at a delivery from Kyle Hogg and was taken behind the wicket.
Nine more runs were added – but with the total on 27 Notts ran into their most calamitous passage of play this season. In nine deliveries they lost four wickets without adding to the total.
Wessels (0) was lbw in Tom Smith’s first over and then Hogg mopped up Hales, Voges and Mullaney, all in his sixth over.
Hales (10) was also caught behind, Voges (0) was given out leg before and Mullaney (0) dragged his second ball onto his off stump.
From 27-5 Samit Patel looked to attack and played some delightful shots in powering to 37 from 35 balls faced. He lost Read (4), also lbw, as Chapple switched ends – but then holed out himself upon Keedy’s introduction to the attack.
At 69-7 the danger of being bowled out in the first session was a very real one but Andre Adams (24 not out) and Graeme White (12 not out) combined defiant aggression with solid defence to reach the luncheon interval on 106-7.
The resumption saw White go on the offensive, hitting Keedy for two maximums in an over. Adams, unusually, hadn’t cleared the rope – but having hit six boundaries in making 33, couldn’t resist any longer and skied Simon Kerrigan to long on where Tom Smith pouched the catch.
White (32) was the next to go, edging behind to give Hogg his fifth wicket and leave the visitors on a precarious 145-9.
What followed almost defied belief but proved that runs could be scored on this club ground. In a stand that lasted for over 18 overs the last pair Darren Pattinson and Luke Fletcher put on 58 runs – to nudge the total towards respectability and also pick up a batting bonus point.
The end came when Fletcher edged Chapple to second slip to close the innings on 203.
After tea Stephen Moore and Paul Horton batted without too many alarms in reaching 67 but then the shape of the game was transformed as Andre Adams picked up three wickets in the space of nine deliveries himself. Moore (37) went lbw, then in the next over Horton (26) and Chilton (0) were both caught behind.
Karl Brown made 7 but then played on from Pattinson to leave the contest far more even than had appeared just several minutes earlier.