Nottinghamshire look to re-write the history books when they face Yorkshire in the LV= County Championship at Trent Bridge this week. Not since way back in 1891 have they successfully managed to do the ‘double’ over their northern neighbours, by beating them twice in the same season.
The sides, of course, only met a fortnight ago at Headingley Carnegie when a sensational about-turn on the third day saw Chris Read’s side pull off a sensational 58 run victory. After taking a first innings lead of 193 – due principally to a magnificent innings of 145 from their skipper Andrew Gale – the home side were pegged back and eventually fell well short of their victory target – coincidentally the score Gale himself achieved first time around, 145.
With Luke Fletcher, Paul Franks and Charlie Shreck all claiming three wickets apiece, the visitors came back from the brink of defeat to pull off one of their most amazing victories in recent times.
"Andre Adams has enjoyed great success on the bowling front in recent times and now sits on a haul of 498 first class wickets."
The task now then, is to emulate the achievements of 120 years ago when Notts triumphed by an innings and 25 runs at Trent Bridge and by an innings and 76 runs at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, in the return. Frank Shacklock took the bowling honours in both matches – bagging a five-wicket haul at home and then finishing with second innings figures of 6-37 in the Steel City.
Whilst the fact that this achievement hasn’t been done for so long would appear to render it unlikely, it should be remembered that last season Nottinghamshire began the campaign with four straight wins for the first time since 1922 – and now also stand on the brink of repeating that again this year.
After home wins over Hampshire and Worcestershire – as well as that win in Leeds – Notts go into their fourth championship fixture already leading the Division One table by one point from Durham – who have played a game more.
Visitors Yorkshire have had a mixed start to their campaign, defeating Worcestershire at New Road before sustaining back-to-back home defeats, against Durham and then to Notts.
Nottinghamshire have hosted their northern neighbours on 124 occasions over the 148 years they have been competing together. 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, 33 victories have gone to the away side and the remaining 56 clashes were drawn.
Last season the Tykes won their first championship match at Trent Bridge since 1999. Stuck in on the first morning, Chris Read’s side were skittled out for just 59, with Ajmal Shahzad and Oliver Hannon-Dalby each claiming four victims.
A magnificent 151 not out from captain Andrew Gale steered his side to a total of 264 and a lead of 209.
Second time around, Notts showed their fighting spirit and made 413. Mark Wagh’s 90 and contributions of 79 from Paul Franks and 72 from Adam Voges set up a victory target of 208 which Yorkshire reached for the loss of five wickets.
The other meeting in 2010 will be remembered for David Hussey’s superb 251 not out – Nottinghamshire’s first-ever double-ton at Leeds and the 13th highest innings by a player for the county.
History has brought up a number of remarkable feats in meetings between the two counties. Back in 1901 Nottinghamshire were dismissed for their lowest ever first class score here, as Yorkshire’s Wilfred Rhodes (6-4) and Schofield Haigh (4-8) whipped out their hosts for just 13.
A notable feat belongs to Nottinghamshire’s George Gunn, who scored a century in each innings in the 1913 encounter here – but even that outstanding contribution pales into insignificance compared to Franklyn Stephenson’s ‘career game’ in 1988.
Before him, only another Richard Hadlee in 1984 had achieved the modern ‘double’ of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in a first class season since the number of games was reduced in 1969.
‘Franky’ went into the final game of his debut season at home to Yorkshire 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.
Looking for a different kind of ‘double’ Notts also have a couple of individual milestones just around the corner.
Andre Adams has enjoyed great success on the bowling front in recent times and now sits on a haul of 498 first class wickets. After hitting the winning runs in the victory over Worcestershire, skipper Chris Read is now just 19 runs short of reaching 11,000 career runs.
They could write themselves and Nottinghamshire into the history books again this week.
Dave Bracegirdle will provide ball-by-ball commentary throughout Nottinghamshire's LV= County Championship match against Yorkshire on behalf of BBC Radio Nottingham.