Nottinghamshire slipped to an innings defeat on the final day of the LV= County Championship season as they were bowled out for just 172 against Sussex at Trent Bridge.
The final morning did feature some stoic resistance from Luke Fletcher, whose 39 was his highest score on the ground.
“I didn’t have much to lose,” he said. “When I went out there with Franksy I thought I’d just go for it and see what happened. I just decided to strike it and get as many as I could.”
Fletcher arrived in the middle with Notts on 128-8, still 49 away from making Sussex bat again.
“The situation we were in”, he said. “It was rather like pushing rubbish up a hill – so I just thought, let’s go for it. It was quite nice to see the field suddenly spread –and it was good to middle a few – the one into the Tavern Stand was right out the middle.”
Fletcher’s 39 came off just 22 deliveries and featured three huge sixes. “When Charlie came out as last man I wanted to push on and get a fifty but I’d have taken that at the start – and am quite happy to get a few runs.”
Beginning the day on 103-4 Nottinghamshire still required a further 74 runs to force their guests into batting for a second time.
Steven Mullaney, out for a second ball duck in the first innings, and Chris Read, who made 55 in his opening knock, had already altered the course of one match this season – putting on 150 together at Headingley to turn a losing position into a winning one.
This time neither lasted long, with Sussex striking twice inside the first twenty minutes. Getting down on to strike in the opening over, Mullaney hit his first two balls of the day for four.
The bowler, James Anyon, exacted swift revenge though, by getting his man in the next over. Mullaney (24) hooking a short-pitched ball out to Chris Nash at deep square leg.
Naved Arif broke the Nottinghamshire resistance by picking up the next four wickets in quick succession. Read (21) fell just seven runs short of reaching 1,000 for the first class season, bowled by one that nipped back.
Graeme White (6) fell in similar fashion – clean bowled – and Andre Adams’ second ball swish was taken by Yardy at slip.
Paul Franks made 7 before hoisting high to Joe Gatting on the offside.
In the face of all the carnage at the other end Luke Fletcher – given licence to play his shots – had launched three over the ropes and sped to 39 before being the last man out – caught off Amjad Khan.
Charlie Shreck, making his farewell appearance for Nottinghamshire, strode out to the wicket on the back of a terrific ovation but Fletcher was dismissed before he could face a ball.
Despite ending his career on a defeat Shreck returned to the pavilion through a line of his team-mates, all warmly applauding him and shaking his hand.
Sussex’ margin of victory was an innings and 5 runs – meaning they end the season in fifth place, with Notts dropping to sixth.