It was just over a year ago that Notts last visited the Cloudfm County Ground for what was arguably their most celebrated triumph of a hugely successful 2017 season.
Essex looked odds on to claim a place in the Royal London One-Day Cup final when they racked up 370-5 in their 50 overs with superb centuries from Alastair Cook (133) and Ryan ten Doeschate (102 not out).
But they reckoned without a stunning response from the Outlaws team, who completed a then-record English domestic List A run chase with three balls to spare thanks to tons of their own from Samit Patel (122 not out) and Steven Mullaney (111).
This visit from Peter Moores’ men is entirely different. It’s the Specsavers County Championship played over four days and the red ball. It’s a lengthy examination of the team’s credentials, rather than one far more ephemeral.
“It’s obviously a big game for us and we want to bounce back strongly after that Somerset match.”
Nevertheless, Club Head Coach Moores hopes his players can show that same indomitable spirit in Chlemsford as they did just over 12 months ago in trying to bounce back from a defeat in their last Championship outing at Somerset.
“It’s obviously a big game for us and we want to bounce back strongly after that Somerset match, when we finished the game really strongly after batting poorly in our first innings,” he says.
“The last couple of games we have not got the runs in the first innings and we are targeting an improvement in that area… we need to get better.
“But you are always going to get some inconsistency with an emerging team as we are, and getting 500 in the second innings has given everyone a big lift in their confidence.
“I don’t think it’s going to be that difficult to slot back into the red ball cricket because it wasn’t long since we played at Somerset and we’ve only had the one white ball game (against Kent) in between.
“We have some good memories at Essex for a lot of the lads and it is a good place to play, but that match last year has gone now and all we are focusing on is what we have in front of us.
“They (Essex) did really well last year in winning the title and have started to hit their stride again this year now.
“Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer are two really good professionals who bowled really well for them last year and we will need to go into the match with our eyes open. I think it has the makings of a really competitive game.”
“Essex did really well last year in winning the title and have started to hit their stride again this year now.”
Although the match at Taunton, which saw Notts knocked off the top of the Division One table, ultimately ended in disappointment, there was one particular moment to savour for the Moores family.
That’s because Peter saw son Tom score his first County Championship hundred (pictured below) as the left-hander hit 103 from 117, with 16 fours.
The 21-year-old’s superb knock means he has now scored 308 runs in six matches to top the Club’s first team averages at 34.22, in addition to 23 dismissals – six more than his nearest rival in Division One, Worcestershire’s Ben Cox.
Moores senior adds: “The first ton is a good feeling and it’s important to get too. It moves the expectation you have of yourself.
“Tom’s played well all season, so now the challenge is to try to cash in and get some more scores.”
“It tells you that you can do it at this level and in four-day cricket and the way he played to get it, under pressure, is also very encouraging for him.
“Tom’s played well all season, so now the challenge is to try to cash in and get some more scores because he’s an important player to us batting at seven.”
But the Green and Golds will be without Captain Steven Mullaney, who is the side’s second leading run scorer (323) behind Ross Taylor (355).
The all-rounder is to skipper England Lions in a tri-series against India A and the West Indies A, starting on Friday at the 3aaa County Ground, Derby against the Indian tourists.
“It’s something you play the game for and as a Club you want to see your players gain honours at a higher level,” insists Moores. “We want players to progress to as high a level as they can.
“Everyone is excited for him, but it means that we will be without him in our side. We will re-jig our batting order and have decided on a captain in his absence.”
That skipper will be Chris Nash, who will look to use the experience of his 190 first-class games, while Harry Gurney returns to the four-day squad having missed the Somerset match with a calf injury.
Nottinghamshire squad to face Essex: Jake Libby, Chris Nash (c), Mark Footitt, Riki Wessels, Harry Gurney, Luke Wood, Matt Milnes, Luke Fletcher, Matt Carter, Samit Patel, Tom Moores (wkt), Ross Taylor, Billy Root.
T20 returns to Trent Bridge on 4 July with a 2017 Finals Day rematch of Notts Outlaws v Birmingham Bears. Tickets are £10 in advance for adults, £7 for over-65s & under-21s and £5 for under 16s. Secure your seats now.