Nottinghamshire’s Second XI fell to a 76-run defeat at the hands of a strong Lancashire side in the final of the Second XI Trophy held at Welbeck CCC.
The visitors posted an imposing total of 259-8 from their 40 overs, and their experience told as a battling Notts were dismissed for 183.
In light of the defeat, Second Team Coach Paul Johnson was keen to see the bigger picture.
“I’ve congratulated the lads on the season they’ve had, for getting to this final in the first place,” he said.
“If you look at the average age and experience of our side they’ve done exceptionally to get to this stage and in terms of the final, they’ll learn from this just as much as if we took them very close.
“Our bowling at the death was very good, we got the ball in a lot of good areas which I was very pleased with, as we hadn’t done that all year. On top of that we held our catches and were good in the field.”
Notts’ innings was slowed early, losing opening batsman Matt Cross to an outstanding catch by his namesake ‘keeper Gareth. For Johnson, the catch was a rare occurrence, and one he didn’t expect to see again soon.
“Catches like that don’t happen very often, but they do happen in a final,” he said.
“It’ll be an ‘if only’, or a ‘what if’ for the players when they think back to this match.”
“If we’d had a few more wickets in hand and taken it right down to the death because anything could have happened.
"Its very pleasing to see that we can stand up against possibly the strongest Second XI county in the country and give them a good game." Paul Johnson
“Unfortunately that pressure had been alleviated by the number of wickets we lost in the first 20 overs.”
Notts were offered hope with the partnership of Brett Hutton and George Bacon late in the innings, who added 44 to keep Johnson’s young side with one eye on Lancashire’s target. Their stand, however, was no surprise to Johnson.
“Nothing really surprises me about this team in terms of the way they go about their disciplines,” he said.
“They take it down to the wire and in that hopeless situation those two lads put on a nice stand.
“Brett has probably been our most consistent batsman all season and we know that George is dangerous.
“We have batsmen lower down the order who can score off not many balls, but they have to do that at the right time in innings and we didn’t get to that stage today.
“These guys should be coming in with eight overs to go and in that time they’re able to score anything from 65 to 100 runs and that’s the difference.”
The trophy final marks the end of Nottinghamshire’s Second XI season, which saw the young side finish sixth in the North Division table. For Johnson, it has offered young players a valuable chance to step up from club and academy cricket.
“There are 6 or 7 lads here playing in a Second XI Trophy final who play in the Notts Premier League on a Saturday,” he said.
“With the addition of Jake Ball, Graeme White and one or two others through the campaign that offer a little more strength, its very pleasing to see that we can stand up against possibly the strongest Second XI county in the country and give them a good game.
“In terms of what they’ve achieved this year, and today, I’m very proud.”