In the most dramatic of contests Notts Outlaws and Somerset fought out a tie in their Royal London One Day Cup game at Trent Bridge.
The Outlaws posted 261 for eight after being put in, with James Franklin top-scoring with an unbeaten 59 and Somerset finished on exactly the same score after Tim Groenewald and Alfonso Thomas scrambled a single from the final ball of the match. Thomas was then run out going for a cheeky second run but the umpires confirmed they had called time as the ball had gone dead.
Somerset looked to be well on course for the win after an opening stand of 125 in 25.2 overs between Marcus Trescothick and Nick Compton in their chase but once both had departed Notts began to make regular inroads, with Jake Ball taking three for 57 and Harry Gurney finished with three for 62 in the fightback.
Seven were needed from the final over but Luke Fletcher held his nerve to earn his side a point.
Gurney said he always had faith in Fletcher. “I was always confident that Fletch would do the business in the final over,” before adding, “we thought north of 280 was probably par but our batsmen can’t get 300 every week so us bowlers need to stand up. I was beginning to wonder where my first wicket was going to come from but the yorkers started to come out right towards the end thankfully.”
He admitted it was a match that could have gone either way.”We’ve had some close results recently but it was honours even today which is slightly frustrating when you first walked off the pitch but when we reflect on it a point apiece is probably the fair result.”
Notts made one change from the side that had defeated Sussex at Horsham, with Fletcher returning in place of Ajmal Shahzad.
Alex Hales and Michael Lumb, who put on 139 together at the weekend, were soon parted on this occasion.
Hales (23), had hit his first three deliveries of the morning, from Lewis Gregory, all for four and added a couple more before nicking Alfonso Thomas behind to ‘keeper Alex Barrow.
Lumb (7) and James Taylor (9) fell in quick succession, both to catches at second slip by Marcus Trescothick, with Tim Groenewald and Gregory getting amongst the wickets.
Trescothick could have claimed his third catch in as many overs but put a difficult one-handed effort down off Samit Patel, before he’d scored.
The drop looked to be costly as Patel and Riki Wessels set about repairing the damage. They put 50 on from only 66 deliveries and then Wessels hit Groenewald for two maximums in the 25th over.
The damage inflicted prompted a bowling change and the returning Craig Overton struck with his first delivery, as Patel (46) hit a high swirling effort to George Dockrell at mid on.
Wessels (44) soon followed, bowled, attempting a pull against Peter Trego, leaving James Franklin and Chris Read to begin another re-building partnership.
Notts were 164-5 at the start of the 36th over – the batting powerplay coming automatically into play – and 5 overs of fairly sensible but cautious batting saw a further 27 added.
Read (42) perished in the 43rd over, driving Groenewald to mid off, where Trego needed a couple of grabs to reel it in.
Steven Mullaney (8) and Luke Fletcher (3) both perished to catches in the deep off Gregory, in the quest for late runs.
Franklin, meanwhile, worked his way to his first 50 for Notts (60 balls 4x4). His knock was as out of character, as it was necessary. Having plundered 3 sixes from only 6 deliveries in Friday’s NatWest T20 Blast match at Headingley, he elected to keep his powder dry this time, with a knock of great restraint and common-sense.
The Notts total looked competitive but certainly not an outright winning score and it was put into context by a terrific opening stand for Somerset from Marcus Trescothick and Nick Compton.
In the 31st over Trescothick ran Mullaney to third man for the single that brought up his 50 (52 balls 4x4 1x6) and also took the total into three figures.
The same over produced further drama. Compton reached his own 50 (66 balls 6x4) and then Trescothick skied towards long off but Lumb, running round from the other side of the wicket, couldn’t get a hand on it.
Bar one or two chancy singles they rarely looked troubled as they put 125 on for the first wicket but then Notts began to fightback.
Trescothick (61) went down on one knee to lap Mullaney but only succeeded in hitting it straight to Fletcher at short fine leg.
Trego (2) looked out of sorts and perished to a wonderful catch from Lumb, more than compensating for his earlier miss.
The bowler, Jake Ball, made it 2 in 2 as he then fired one through Compton’s defences to have him lbw.
Fletcher bowled James Hildreth (27) but Colin Ingram (50) looked to take the game away from Notts with some lusty blows.
It was Gurney who saw off the South African, smashing his stumps with a block-hole beauty and he then did the same to remove Craig Overton (3).
Ball bowled Barrow (4) and then clung on to a simple catch to dismiss Gregory (18), off Gurney.
Despite a mighty 6 from Groenewald in the penultimate over, the spoils were shared in the most exciting manner imaginable.
Notts have little time to reflect on the result as they travel to Cardiff to face Glamorgan on Wednesday.
Report by Dave Bracegirdle