Following a long season of ups and downs, Nottinghamshire will be hoping to secure their Division One status during the last County Championship fixture of the season when Somerset visit Trent Bridge.
The Green and Golds need just five points from the game to avoid the drop and condemn Lancashire to Division Two cricket next season following Worcestershire’s relegation in the penultimate round of fixtures.
Looking ahead to the crunch game, which begins tomorrow (Monday), seamer Luke Fletcher knows the side must have a strong end to the campaign.
“I think we’ve got to approach it like any other game,” he said.
“It’s not worked great for us at home this year but hopefully we can finish strong.
“We all enjoy playing at Trent Bridge, the facilities are great, and we get looked after really well, so hopefully that plays in our advantage and we can get some points.
“It’s important that we can push hard for four more days and then we can sit back and look at the end of the season and hopefully be proud of what we’ve done.”
Notts have rung the changes during their last four County Championship games by handing debuts out in each.
Overseas signing Kraigg Brathwaite, batsmen Ben Slater and Ben Duckett and academy graduate Lyndon James have all made their bows for the club in the last few weeks and the Bulwell Bomber is glad to see an influx of fresh blood in the squad.
“It’s been nice to have some fresh faces around, it seems to be someone making their debut every game, but it’s been nice,” he said.
“It freshens the team up and gets you excited for what’s to come next season, certainly with the new signings we’ve made in Duckett and Slater.
“They’ve both performed when they’ve been in a Notts shirt, so it’s nice to have fresh faces around the group.”
The Green and Golds will be hoping to exact an element of revenge on this week’s opposition following Somerset’s victories in the first County Championship meeting of the sides and in the T20 Blast Quarter-Final at Taunton.
However, Fletcher and the rest of the squad will be wary of their opponents strengths following their previous meetings this year.
“Certainly, the spin of Jack Leach is a threat and they’ve got some good seamers in the Overton brothers, they’re good bowlers,” he said.
“Obviously they’ve got some great batsmen as well, [Marcus] Trescothick is back playing now so he’s a threat.
“They’re a solid team in all three formats so we’ll have to play well to get some points out of the game but hopefully we can get a few of the top six out early.”
Flecther added: “I’m due some wickets actually, I’ve been a bit quiet for the last three games, so from my point of view I’m looking to get some early wickets and get us some bowling points on the board.”
Despite possibly being quiet in the last few County Championship games, it’s been a pretty good season for the Bulwell Bomber, who took career best figures of 5-27 in April’s clash with Worcestershire at New Road.
Now in the final game of the season, Fletcher is looking to finish on another high after finding his love of the game.
“It’s been a good year, I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said.
“The last two seasons I’ve really started to love playing cricket, not that I didn’t love it, but I’ve really enjoyed it more and I think I’ve improved as a cricketer.
“My lifestyle has changed off the field which has probably helped me as well, with having a little boy and we’re expecting again in March, so that’s probably a few things that have helped off the field which has given me results on the field.
“It’s been a good year all round so it’ll be nice to finish off, hopefully, with another career best.”
Kraigg Brathwaite has headed back to join the West Indies squad for their series in India so Nottinghamshire go into the fixture with no overseas player.
Nottinghamshire squad to face Somerset: Jake Libby, Steven Mullaney (c), Riki Wessels, Harry Gurney, Luke Wood, Matt Milnes, Luke Fletcher, Matt Carter, Samit Patel, Tom Moores (wk), Ben Slater, Will Fraine, Jack Blatherwick and Ben Duckett.
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