Trent Bridge staged its first outdoor cricket of 2014 as the players of Nottinghamshire and Northants readjusted to the chilly March temperatures after returning from the heat of Barbados earlier in the week.
On the first of two days of friendly cricket against Northants, the full 90 overs were squeezed in despite bitterly cold conditions and two stoppages for rain.
The visitors batted for the opening two sessions, making 237-7 from 60 overs, with Stephen Peters retiring for a top score of 78. The wickets were shared around, with Luke Fletcher taking 2-42 from 14 overs. Other wicket-takers were Ajmal Shahzad 1-53, Jake Ball 1-70, Andy Carter 1-41 and Steven Mullaney 1-16.
After tea, Notts reached 93-3, losing the wickets of Mullaney, Kelsall and Wood, with Chris Read (2 not out) and Riki Wessels (5 not out) together at the end.
The Notts XI, with James Taylor resting a slight injury, was Mullaney, Kelsall, S Wood, Wessels, Read, Tillcock, Shahzad, Hutton, Ball, Fletcher and Carter.
Northants went with Peters, Keogh, Coetzer, Sales, Hall, Kettleborough, Murphy, White, Stone and Azharullah.
Around fifty hardy souls, complete with thermals, anoraks, travel rugs and flasks, congregated in the pavilion seating area as Fletcher bowled the opening over, from the Radcliffe Road End.
Fletcher, having loosened up in a yellow t20 shirt bearing the name (Shreck) and number (11) of a former team-mate, began with an accurate maiden to Peters, the visiting skipper.
Peters wasn’t subdued for long. He and Rob Keogh shared the spoils to put fifty on in just 9.2 overs. Fletcher and Shazad shared the opening burst, before giving way to Ball and then Carter.
Peters, elegantly despatching the ball to the fence with great regularity, brought up his half century in just 39 balls, with 11 fours.
The initial breakthrough arrived after 18.5 overs, with the score on 107, as Keogh (35) lifted Ball to midwicket, where Adam Tillcock took a comfortable catch.
Kyle Coetzer (5) fell to a similar shot, five overs later, with Carter being the recipient of a second Tillcock catch.
Peters, joined by Rob Newton had moved on to an unbeaten 78 when a sudden shower forced the players from the field on 141-2 (27.5 overs) five minutes before the scheduled lunch break.
Resuming in fairly gloomy conditions, forty minutes later, Northants returned with Andrew Hall alongside Newton, Peters having been retired out for 78.
The pair advanced the score to 163-3 from 31 overs before more heavy drizzle swept across the ground causing a second brief stoppage.
Hall and Newton played a flurry of attractive shots before Shahzad, in his 12th over, took a routine return catch as Hall (26) mistimed an attempted pull.
Eight deliveries later Mullaney had James Kettleborough plumb lbw (0), playing around a full straight delivery.
The Northants innings nosedived further as Fletcher returned to the attack, his second ball accounting for Newton (42), thanks to a stunning diving catch at mid on from Carter.
Graeme White, formerly of Notts, scampered a single from his first ball to bring up the 200.
When the next wicket fell, after a period of inactivity, it meant that four wickets had fallen for the addition of only 10 runs in 12 overs. Fletcher was the man to get it, having White (5) leg before wicket.
David Murphy (27 not out) and Olly Stone (5 not out) protected their wickets up until the agreed close of the innings, after 60 overs had been bowled.
Steven Mullaney and Sam Kelsall opened up the batting for Notts and both hit early boundaries, although Kelsall had a touch of fortune about his as it flew from the edge of the bat between first and second slip, off Muhammad Azharullah.
After just 2.2 overs, at around 4.15pm, the floodlights were switched on to combat the gloomy overhead conditions. On 15 Kelsall had a life, another nick off Azharullah flew low to first slip but was grassed by Andrew Hall.
The opening stand advanced to 50, in the eleventh over, at which point Notts lost Mullaney (29) lbw to Olly Stone, bringing Sam Wood to the crease.
The ground became aware of Nottinghamshire’s Alex Hales’ six-hitting his way to a century in the ICC World t20 and Kelsall showed his own power by lifting former team-mate Graeme White for the first maximum of the day.
At the start of the 23rd over Kelsall (35) was adjudged lbw to Andrew Hall’s bowling and just before the close Wood (19) nicked Coetzer to Hall at slip.