Chris Read’s unbeaten 104, the last 46 of which were achieved with last man Harry Gurney at the crease alongside him, was instrumental in Nottinghamshire reaching an all-out total of 162, on the second day of their LV=County Championship match against Somerset at Trent Bridge.
When the rains came, at around twenty to four, Somerset had reached 78-1 in reply.
For the debutant bowler Gurney, it was a day to remember with the bat. “Obviously my role was to support Ready and help him put on as many as we could and try and scrap out a bigger total.
“His was an amazing innings and it was a real experience to be stood at the other end watching it – and a real pleasure to be involved in a stand like that. I’m just delighted that his efforts were rewarded by getting to his century.”
The skipper felt it was one of the best hundreds of his career. “Yes, in terms of the match situation and the weight of the runs compared to the rest of the innings. I still feel we perhaps didn’t score as many runs as we should have done on there. Their attack was perhaps not as strong as it could have been but I thought Kirby and Trego bowled really well throughout.”
Resuming from their first day position of 93-6, with Read unbeaten on 52 and Paul Franks still to get off the mark, Notts were soon in disarray.
Franks (2) became Peter Trego’s fourth victim, and third to be dismissed lbw, when he was sent on his way to leave the score on 97-7.
Ben Phillips (4), playing against his former county, straight-drove his first delivery to the boundary but then edged his fourth as Trego claimed his maiden 5-wicket haul for Somerset.
It became 106-9 when Luke Fletcher steered Kirby into the hands of Marcus Trescothick and, with only the last man to come, little could be expected of Harry Gurney, on debut.
By contrast, he was to play one of the best rearguard innings seen in modern times. Defending stoically, running swiftly and listening to every word of advice from his captain.
A week ago Notts had been held up in their pursuit of victory by a tenth wicket stand between Mitch Claydon and Graeme Onions at Chester-le-Street. But the boot was now on the other foot.
Read was, quite simply, superb. His 21st career century and 19th for Notts could scarcely have been better, given the circumstances. He mixed sensible rotation, with controlled aggression.
His second maximum of the innings was a pull into the lower seating of the Hound Road Stand, off Trego. A deserved standing ovation ensued when he pulled Gregory away for the four which brought up the fifty partnership and his own individual ton (165 mins, 124 balls, 14x4, 1x5, 2x6).
George Dockrell’s slow left-arm was eventually brought on for one over. Although he didn’t pick up a wicket, there was perhaps an incident of greater significance, with Trescothick turning an ankle whilst fielding and having to be escorted from the field after lengthy treatment.
Gurney’s (6) vigil eventually ended when he was bowled by the returning Kirby but the momentum swing – and the morning – belonged to Notts.
After Read’s ton, the next highest score in the innings was extras with 17, then Steven Mullaney, who made 10.
Lewis Gregory opened alongside Arul Suppiah, as a kind of lunch-watchman, and the pair made it to the break on 12-0.
Second ball after the restart Phillips flattened Gregory’s middle stump to inspire home hopes of a collapse but a battling unbeaten stand of 66 between Arul Suppiah (50 not out) and Nick Compton (19 not out) took Somerset to 78-1 when the rains came.