Just an hour of play was necessary for Luke Fletcher and Andre Adams to share the final four wickets as Worcs were bowled out for 299, giving the home side a winning margin of 92 runs.
Adams ended with figures of 4-90, whilst his junior partner took 4-53, to go with the three wickets he’d taken in the first innings.
“I’m really pleased with how it’s gone,” said Fletcher. “I felt pretty good this morning after a swim and a good stretch. It was coming out nicely in the warm-ups and to get a wicket in the first over was just the lift we all needed.”
Fletcher’s two wickets late on the third evening had been pivotal in the success and he revealed his motivation. “I could hear the Forest fans singing in The City Ground and it really got me going, gave me a lift. Jake Ball was on as a sub fielder and he said he fancied me to get a wicket – next ball I bowled Daryl Mitchell and then got Ben Scott next ball. I was really jumping by then and just wanted to do the same for the hat-trick ball but he edged it just short of the slips.”
Beginning the fourth day on 258-6 Worcestershire required a further 134 runs for an unlikely victory of their own. If successful, this would have been their second-highest chase in history but a huge third-wicket stand of 174 between Mitchell and Moeen Ali had turned the improbable into a possibility before Notts had been able to dismiss them both.
“I felt pretty good this morning after a swim and a good stretch. It was coming out nicely in the warm-ups and to get a wicket in the first over was just the lift we all needed.” - Luke Fletcher
Nottinghamshire’s advantage was that the second new ball, which had claimed three wickets in fifteen deliveries on the previous evening, was only five overs old and two new batsmen were at the crease trying to negotiate it.
Two of those wickets had fallen to Fletcher and he continued to make a positive impact with just the sixth delivery of the session.
Shaiq Choudhry (1), who had held Notts up for seventy minutes in the first innings, didn’t inconvenience them this time, shuffling across his stumps and giving Tim Robinson an easy lbw decision to make.
James Cameron (27 not out) and David Lucas both edged agonisingly past the finger-tips of the slip cordon before Adams was helped out with his third victim of the innings.
A widish delivery drew Lucas (12) into a drive but a thick inside-edge ricocheted back onto his leg stump to give Notts fresh hope that the victory was within their grasp.
Richard Jones (3) remained there for five overs but then chipped tamely back to Adams for a routine caught and bowled to leave the score on 298-9.
The floodlights, in use for much of the contest, were again shining brightly over the ground but they weren’t any protection against the drizzle which began to fall harder and harder.
With it becoming a real likelihood that play would have to be suspended Notts secured the win, and again it was Fletcher who made things happen when they needed it most.
The big fast bowler had kept going through an hour of play and roared on by an appreciative crowd deserved his fourth success as Richardson (0) was out lbw for the second time in the match.
Nottinghamshire secure 19 points for the victory which sees them get off to a winning start for the fourth straight season. Durham, away on Thursday, will be the next challenge for Mick Newell’s side.