When Andre Adams left Nottingham to return to New Zealand at the end of last summer he felt empty.

Individually, the all-rounder, 36, had enjoyed a successful fifth season at Trent Bridge, taking 67 wickets in 16 matches in Division One of the County Championship and scoring 551 runs.

For a second successive year, he was named Nottinghamshire's player-of-the-year by Mick Newell, the club's director of cricket.

For all of that, however, he still felt empty because Notts had finished in sixth place in the County Championship only a year after winning the Division One title for the sixth time in their history on a thrilling final day at Old Trafford.

They had not come close to defending their crown and Adams, as he sat on a plane back to Auckland, was hurting.

"I left these shores feeling pretty empty," he said. "I was honoured to be recognised as the player-of-the-year, but to go from the sheer joy of winning the championship at Lancashire (in 2010) to the low of finishing sixth was hard to take, especially because we could have done so much better.

"At times we performed well. We beat Lancashire at Southport, but they went on to win the title, while we had no consistency."

Adams is not hurting now though. Quite the opposite, in fact. Having returned to Trent Bridge for the new season, he is both excited and optimistic about this summer.

Already, he has begun to make his mark too, typically, taking 13 wickets and centre-stage in wins against Worcestershire at Trent Bridge and Durham at Chester-le-Street in Notts' opening two County Championship matches, even ahead of Riki Wessels and new-signing Michael Lumb, who have both scored centuries.

"That is my role and I enjoy it," added Adams. "I'm pleased with how I've started the season and the other bowlers have done well too."

Indeed, they have. Ben Phillips, 37, notably claimed ten wickets against Worcestershire and Durham and Luke Fletcher, 23, eight.

Notts beat Worcestershire by 92 runs and Durham by 114 runs, which was an especially satisfying victory for Adams because they have twice won the County Championship in the past four seasons and are expected to challenge for the title again this summer.

"Durham compete at the top of the Championship nearly every summer, so to beat them is fantastic," he said.

"They are going to beat a lot of other counties there this summer so it feels like a big win."

It is a victory that puts Notts top of the Division One table ahead of their third match of the season against Somerset, which begins at Trent Bridge tomorrow.

They are 13 points above Surrey and Sussex, who both have 25 points.

Somerset, led by former England international Marcus Trescothick, are fifth. They beat Middlesex by six wickets at Taunton and lost by two wickets to Warwickshire in their first two matches.

"The table is irrelevant at this stage of the season," said Adams. "We've done well to win our first two matches, but we were in a good position after three matches last year and some were starting to talk about us retaining the title, but we ended up finishing sixth so we're not looking too far ahead.

"Any one of eight teams could win it, it's such a strong Championship this summer. If we want to do well, we've got to perform in every game.

"Somerset do not have a weak link, so we've got to be ready for a fight. It would be fantastic to beat them."

Adams might not be getting carried away by a promising start because of last summer's false dawn, but he does believe Notts are looking stronger than last summer, having signed Lumb, who scored 131 at Durham, and James Taylor, from Leicestershire.

"It certainly has a more complete feeling to it this summer," he said. "Neil Edwards has done a good job opening the batting. After a tough year last year, he's started to do it at the top of the order and Michael (Lumb) has already scored a century. We have runs in the middle and a good bowling attack too.

"There is not one person we have to rely on because everyone has the ability to contribute and you must have that to be successful.

"I want to win as many trophies as I can before I hang up my boots and everyone else is hungry too."

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