Notts Outlaws lost their first match in this season’s Royal London One Day Cup when they went down to a 6-wicket defeat by the Durham Jets at Chester-le-Street.
After being put in, the Outlaws could only muster 222-9, with no-one reaching a half-century. Durham reached their victory target in 45.3 overs, with Ben Stokes making 103, having shared in a third wicket stand of 150 with Mark Stoneman, who contributed 86.
Earlier, Riki Wessels had made 44 for the Outlaws and there were four other individual scores between 28 and 31 but the score always looked to be under par and was put into context as the home side cantered to victory with 27 balls to spare.
Luke Fletcher, with 3-27 was the pick of the Notts’ attack and unluckily put down Stokes first ball as the left-hander drilled the ball back at him.
Mick Newell admitted his side hadn’t been at their best. “I thought we were pretty average today. With the bat nobody made a major contribution which left us a little bit short but from a bowling perspective I thought that with the new ball we were excellent, with Gurney and Fletcher but from the end of that new ball spell we lost control and never got it back.”
The day began in unusual fashion with an injury to one of the umpires. George Sharpe, scheduled to officiate, injured his calf in the dressing room and was unable to stand.
Peter Hartley, umpiring in a second XI match at Stockton-on-Tees, was summoned to deputise but former first class umpire, 73-year old John Hampshire, on the ground as an assessor, agreed to take square leg until Hartley arrived two hours later.
Sam Kelsall, playing on the ground where he made his first class debut in 2011, walked out to open with Michael Lumb and punched a glorious boundary through the offside in Paul Coughlin’s first over.
There was more drama to come in the second over, as Graham Onions walked off after delivering just 3 deliveries. The England international seemed to be in discomfort from a back or side ailment.
Calum MacLeod completed the unfinished over and was given a couple more as reward but was quickly removed after Lumb thumped him high over long on for the first maximum.
The opening stand ended on 51 in the twelfth over when Lumb (31) miscued Ben Stokes to Gordon Muchall at mid off.
Steven Mullaney (16) pushed Paul Collingwood to short extra and four balls later Kelsall (30) was given out lbw, attempting to sweep Scott Borthwick.
Riki Wessels got off the mark with an effortless punch to the boundary boards on the cover fence but he lost Samit Patel (3) early in their partnership, as Borthwick turned one that was inside-edged back on to the off peg.
Wessels was joined by James Franklin for the most productive partnership of the innings, 61, with both men clearing the ropes.
Franklin pulled Borthwick away to leg for six, either side of his partner lifting Collingwood and then Coughlin for towering maximums.
John Hastings ended the stand with a leg side strangle, as Wessels (44) tickled through to Phil Mustard, to leave Notts on 155-5 in the 36th over.
Franklin and Chris Read added 29 together but it looked tough going against Durham’s disciplined bowling and athletic fielding.
Gareth Breese had Franklin (28) caught at mid off, Ajmal Shahzad (10) toed the ball behind after launching a six of his own and Read (29) pulled out to deep midwicket.
Jake Ball (1) fell to the penultimate ball of the innings, leaving Luke Fletcher (12 not out) to scamper a couple of runs with Harry Gurney (0 not out).
Stoneman and Mustard began the Durham reply but were kept in check in the early stages, with both Fletcher and Gurney opening up with maidens.
Only 31 runs came during the first ten overs so Read kept Fletcher going and was rewarded with 2 wickets. Mustard (8) cut into the hands of Mullaney at point and MacLeod (0) was trapped lbw.
It could have been even better for Notts as Stokes first delivery was drilled straight back to Fletcher but the bowler’s instinctive grab for the ball couldn’t reel it in.
Stokes made the most of his opportunity, taking the fight to the visitors in emphatic fashion, reaching his 50 in just 51 deliveries (9x4). Stoneman followed shortly afterwards, his own 50 coming from 74 balls (6x4).
The batting powerplay was taken at the start of the 35th over and produced the first maximums of the innings, Stoneman twice pulling Ball a long way back during an over that produced 17 runs.
Fletcher’s return produced a third wicket, ending the long partnership as Stoneman (86) drove to Wessels at mid off.
Stokes reached his 100 (116 balls 15x4) but then perished, lifting Patel to the same catcher.
Paul Collingwood hoisted Patel away for the match-winning 6 to condemn Notts to their first defeat in the Group.
Notts now have 7 points from six matches and face Middlesex next, at Lord’s on Thursday.