Nottinghamshire’s LV= County Championship match against Lancashire at Trent Bridge ended in a draw on the final day, with the home side finishing 58 runs short of their victory target.
After the visitors had batted on briefly at the start of the day, then declared, two forfeitures meant that Notts required 351 from a minimum of 90 overs. By the close, they had reached 293-7, with James Taylor, Adam Voges and Chris Read all passing fifty.
Notts had been set-back in their run chase, losing four wickets with only 95 on the board – a start that Mick Newell felt was pivotal.
“In situations like that you’ve got to be at around 200 or 220-3 going into the last session,” said the director of cricket.
“When Taylor and Adams were out in the same over, later on, we still were a long way short of our target.”
Newell felt the decision to set up a last day ‘match’ and not just play for batting points was justified.
“With sixteen points for a win - had we managed to do so - we’d have opened up a lead over Warwickshire, meaning they would need to win their game in hand. We felt that it was worthwhile pushing for the win and to sacrifice the bonus points.”
Paul Franks completed an unfinished over at the start of the day and then James Taylor and Michael Lumb each had their first bowl for the county as Lancashire were ‘allowed’ to proceed to 350 and a fourth batting point.
Kyle Hogg finished on 61 not out and Simon Kerrigan was on 34, with the pair having added 99 together
The declaration – and subsequent forfeitures of the next two innings – meant that Notts had been left to score 351 in exactly 90 overs.
Two years ago, after a similarly rain-hit contest, Chris Read and Glenn Chapple set up a last day run-chase, which set Notts a minimum of 64 overs to score 260 – the target, on that occasion, was achieved in 55.2 for the loss of seven wickets.
Alex Hales played a starring role in that victory, making 93 on the last day to go with his first innings score of 98. Sadly, this time he failed to get underway as he nicked the fourth ball of the innings behind, from the bowling of Chapple.
Kyle Hogg also picked up a wicket in the opening session, trapping Riki Wessels (15). Samit Patel and Michael Lumb gave the innings some impetus by adding 64 together in 12.3 overs before the Red Rose county struck again just before lunch.
Patel, who had played a succession of elegant strokes on his way to 24, edged Simon Kerrigan’s fifth delivery to Paul Horton at slip.
The second over after the interval brought further joy for the visitors as Chapple had Lumb (35) trapped leg before wicket.
A reassuring and calming partnership between James Taylor and Adam Voges then began with the dual purpose of ensuring that a major collapse didn’t happen whilst keeping victory options open with a steady flow of runs.
Taylor, who had passed 5,000 first class runs when he reached five, was content to play the less-attacking role as Voges drove and worked his way to his first fifty of the summer.
They’d reached a position of some strength – adding 99 – when an uncharacteristic rush of blood cost Voges (55) his wicket. Using his feet to skip down the track to Kerrigan, he was beaten by the turn and was stumped by a good distance.
Taylor’s highest championship score for Notts came as he and Read added a sprightly 61 together.
With 98 needed from 15 overs – and five wickets remaining – Notts had the momentum. That all changed as Ajmal Shahzad claimed two wickets in two balls.
Trying to clip a full delivery away to leg, Taylor (67) was given out lbw. Andre Adams, walking out with Hales as his runner after his ankle injury sustained a day earlier, clubbed his first delivery straight down the ground and into the waiting hands of Chapple at long off.
With only Harry Gurney and Andy Carter to come – and despite Lancs taking the second new ball – Paul Franks (13 not out) kept Read company for almost an hour until the captains shook hands with one delivery remaining.
The draw leaves Nottinghamshire with a one point advantage over second-placed Warwickshire and also means they have gone undefeated after eight championship matches for the first time since the 1991 title-winning campaign, a fact that delighted Mick Newell.
“We haven’t particularly looked like losing matches which has been very satisfying and we’re pleased to have won four matches already,” he said.
“The challenge is to continue to do well in the second half of the season. In recent years we’ve struggled on flatter, dryer wickets but we hope that when we go to places Like Uxbridge, Taunton and The Oval we’ve now got the variety in our attack to take twenty wickets.”