Nottinghamshire return to red ball action when they face Somerset this weekend in the First Division of the LV= County Championship.
The match begins on Friday with both sides currently occupying positions in the wrong half of the table. Notts are sixth, with 101 points from ten matches, whilst their opponents are 25 points and one place worse off from the same number of fixtures.
Head to head
Over the years Nottinghamshire have played at a number of out-grounds when visiting the ‘Cider County’, including Bath, Frome, Weston-super-Mare and Yeovil but they have played 35 championships matches at the county headquarters in Taunton.
As in most long-term match-ups it’s the home side that hold the overall advantage. Somerset having won thirteen of the meetings, to Notts' five, with 17 draws.
Last season’s fixture at Taunton ended in a tame draw after the first two days were severely affected by the rain.
Put in, Nottinghamshire only had time to reach 18-1 on the first day and that had been stretched to 48 for three after a second interrupted day.
The home team were delighted to give a debut to Pakistan Test spinner Abdur Rehman, especially as they were missing Craig Kieswetter and Nick Compton, both away on England Lions duty alongside Notts’ Samit Patel.
Notts were able to include both James Taylor and Graeme Swann in their side. Taylor had returned to county duty after making his England debut the week before. That Test, versus South Africa at Headingley, had seen Swann omitted on a seam-friendly surface, so he was included at Taunton for some much-needed practice.
Notts folded for 156 all out on the third day, with Chris Read ending on an undefeated 56. Taylor fell for 21, given out lbw trying to sweep Rehman’s second delivery in county cricket.
Gemaal Hussain, who appeared twice for Notts seconds in 2007, claimed figures of 4-29.
Somerset responded with 249, James Hildreth making 83 before falling to Adam Voges’ first wicket for Notts in three years.
At times Notts had Riki Wessels, Harry Gurney and Andre Adams all off the field at the same time and, down to the very depths of their resources, they utilised 41-year old coach Wayne Noon as a fielding substitute for much of the third day.
On the final day Notts batted out for a draw, closing on 176 for five, with Alex Hales making 54.
The result, combined with Warwickshire’s win over Worcestershire, meant that second-placed Nottinghamshire dropped to 21 points behind the Bears.
Played for them both
Medium-fast bowler Simon Francis began his career with Hampshire but moved to Somerset in 2002. He played 40 times for the Taunton side, claiming 105 wickets.
Francis left the ‘Cider County’ at the end of the 2006 campaign but was taken on by Notts the following June. His two matches v Derbyshire and Gloucestershire, both at Trent Bridge, were the final ones of his first class career and brought just one wicket. He also appeared in two t20 games for Notts.
Others to have played for both Nottinghamshire and Somerset in recent years include Matt Wood, Ben Phillips, Neil Edwards and Kevin O’Brien.
Nottinghamshire have never scored 500 in an innings at Taunton and only passed 400 on rare occasions, most recently in 2011 when they made 402.
Their lowest score in the west country was 69 all out in 1892, with Ted Tyler taking 9-33 for the home side.
In 1994, despite losing the match by 100 runs, Notts went down fighting and created a little bit of history in the process. Delaying the inevitable, Jimmy Adams and Kevin Evans put on a new county record stand of 170 for the ninth wicket, with the West Indian making 144 not out, his highest score for Notts, with Evans adding 77.
James Taylor has scored 978 first class runs this season (for Notts, England Lions and Sussex). Chasing him to the 1,000 run mark are Michael Lumb (867) and Samit Patel (824).
Did you know?
Mike Taylor played for Notts between 1964 and 1972 before leaving to joining Hampshire. During a similar period Mike’s twin brother, Derek, was Somerset’s wicket-keeper.
The brothers were born in Amersham, Bucks in 1942 and given the respective initials MNS and DJS – in each case the S stands for Somerset!
Notts haven’t tasted too many successes at Taunton over the years, with their fifth win (and most recent) coming as far back as April 1985 when they pulled off a 9-wicket triumph.
On that occasion honours were pretty even after each side had batted once – with Tim Robinson scoring 105 in the visitors’ first innings.
Peter Such, with 5-73, helped skittle the hosts out for 133 second time around, leaving Broad, Robinson and Randall to knock off the required runs.
The triumph only partially made up for a narrow defeat there the previous season.
In September 1984 Notts went to Taunton knowing that victory would secure them the county championship.
Chasing 297 to win and pip Essex for the crown, the last pair, Mike Bore and Andy Pick, were left together with fourteen still needed.
The equation had been reduced to just 4 from the final two deliveries.
Bore swung hard and handsome at fellow left-arm spinner Stephen Booth but, with the county championship at stake, Richard Ollis, on the field as a substitute, broke Nottinghamshire hearts when he took the catch at long on.
On a ground that has developed a reputation as being a batsman’s paradise, it’s perhaps surprising that only ten Nottinghamshire centuries have been scored at Taunton, beginning with William Gunn, who hit 101 in 1894. Since then the ton-up guys have been;
John Clay 127 (1955), Norman Hill 106 (1967), Basharat Hassan 104 (1964), Mike Harris 163 (1975), Tim Robinson 105 (1985), Richard Hadlee 133* (1987), Jimmy Adams 144* (1994) and Samit Patel, who hit 104 three years ago and followed it up with 128 in 2011.
Two Nottinghamshire bowlers have claimed 7-wicket hauls at Taunton. Mark Bowen bagged 7-73 in the drawn match in 1998 and Bruce Dooland, the Australian leg break and googly specialist, spun his side to a narrow win in 1955 with figures of 7-110.
Andre Adams has now taken 291 first class wickets for Nottinghamshire, he goes into this match having batted 99 times for the county.
Chris Read has claimed 889 victims in his first class career (842 catches and 47 stumpings).
730 of those catches have come whilst playing for Notts. He is currently third in the all-time standings with only Bruce French and Thomas Oates, who played between 1897 and 1925, ahead of him.
French took 737 but Oates’ exact tally is open to scrutiny with various books, scorecards and sites giving differing opinions on his haul – ranging from 733 to 745 – needless to say, Read is expected to sail past both other players in the not-too-distant-future.
For all matchday information, including ticket pricing, access the official Somerset CCC webpage at www.somersetcountycc.co.uk
BBC Radio Nottingham will be providing live ball-by-ball on-line commentary from all four days of the match. Access the commentary via the link on the BBC Sport webpage.