Nottinghamshire head to the south-west this weekend when they face Somerset in Taunton in their next Specsavers County Championship match.
The two sides have had contrasting campaigns, with Somerset sitting on top of the Division One table and looking to be on course for their first championship title.
Notts have ground to make up at the other end of the standings, and will be looking to reverse recent form against the Cidermen.
Nottinghamshire and Somerset have met on 130 occasions in first class cricket, with the head-to-head record going in Somerset’s favour.
The west-country side have won 37 of the matches, whilst Notts have been triumphant on 31 occasions. The other 62 matches have been drawn.
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 the majority of the fixtures have been played at this week’s venue, with 39 championships matches being staged 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 15 of the meetings, to Notts’ five, with 19 draws.
Nottinghamshire’s last success at Taunton came way back in 1985 when they recorded a nine-wicket win.
Somerset, home and away, have won all of the last seven meetings.
Last June’s trip to Taunton brought joy for a couple of the Nottinghamshire squad but ultimately heartbreak.
Young pace bowler Matt Milnes – now with Kent - made his county debut for Notts and picked up the wicket of Roelof van der Merwe as his first scalp.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Moores registered his maiden first-class century, as Notts roared back in their second innings after being made to follow-on.
Australian Matt Renshaw scored a century as part of a Somerset total of 392, before skittling the visitors for just 134.
Batting for a second time, Notts delivered the sort of resistance that may be required this week by scoring 505.
Moores hit 103, Steven Mullaney made 94 and Nash, Libby and Patel all passed 50.
Set to score 250 on the final day, the hosts got home for the loss of four wickets.
Nottinghamshire’s lowest score in the west country occurred way back in 1892 when they were skittled out for just 69, with Ted Tyler taking nine for 33 for the home side.
The County Championship title was on the line when Notts headed for Taunton at the end of the season.
Chasing 297 to win and pip Essex for the crown, the last pair, Mike Bore and Andy Pick, were left together with 14 runs 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 a season’s work on the line, substitute fielder Richard Ollis broke Nottinghamshire hearts by holding the catch at long off.
Although Notts still lost to Somerset by more than 100 runs at Taunton in 1994, they at least 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.
West Indian Adams made 144 not out, his highest score for the county, with Evans adding 77.
Matt Carter took 10 wickets on his first-class debut for Notts yet finished on the losing side.
The young Lincolnshire-born spin bowler claimed figures of 7-56 on his first bowl for the county and took a further 3-139 in the second innings.
A dramatic match had seen Brendan Taylor’s 152 set the game up for Notts, but the home county chased down a target of 402 to squeak home by two wickets.
Played for them Both
Vernon Philander played for Nottinghamshire when the sides met at Trent Bridge in 2015.
The quick bowler made five first class appearances for the county, picking up 16 wickets at an average of 24.
He took seven wickets in that match against Somerset, a haul that was helped by him bowling Marcus Trescothick for nought early in both innings.
Philander had earlier played for Somerset in 2012, where he also appeared in five first class matches, scoring 62 runs, with a top score of 38.
Meanwhile, the South African took 23 wickets for the county with a best return of five for 43.
Others to have played for both Nottinghamshire and Somerset in recent years include Matt Wood, Ben Phillips, Neil Edwards, Simon Francis, Kevin O’Brien and Dirk Nannes.
On a ground that has developed a reputation as being a batsman’s paradise, it’s perhaps surprising that only 13 Nottinghamshire centuries have been scored at Taunton, with ground specialist Samit Patel registering three of them.
Patel scored 104 in 2010, 128 in 2011 and 132 in 2014.
The other hundreds have come from William Gunn, who hit 101 in 1894, John Clay (127 in 1955), Norman Hill (106 in 1967), Basharat Hassan (104 in 1964), Mike Harris (163 in 1975), Tim Robinson (105 in 1985), Richard Hadlee (133* in 1987), Jimmy Adams (144* in 1994), Phil Jaques (150* in 2014) and Tom Moores (103 in 2018).
Three Nottinghamshire bowlers have claimed seven-wicket hauls at Taunton. Mark Bowen bagged 7-73 in the drawn match in 1998, while Bruce Dooland, the Australian leg break and googly specialist, spun his side to a narrow win in 1955 with figures of 7-110 and Matt Carter (above) achieved the feat four years ago on debut.
Highest innings totals at Taunton | Somerset 616-7dec (1992), Notts 440 (2014)
Lowest innings totals at Taunton | Somerset 106 (2008, Notts 69 (1892)
Highest individual innings at Taunton | 163 (Mike Harris for Notts in 1975)
Best bowling in an innings at Taunton | 9-33 (Ted Tyler for Somerset in 1892), 7-73 (Mark Bowen for Notts in 1998)
No bowlers, from either side, have taken a hat-trick in the Taunton matches, although there have been five taken in the series of matches between the two counties.
Frank Shacklock (1893) and Barry Stead (1972) both claimed one for Notts at Trent Bridge and Geoff Lomax repeated the feat for Somerset at Weston-super-Mare in 1958.
Last September, in the same match, both Tom Abell and Craig Overton achieved the feat for the Cider Men.
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.
Stuart Broad is just 3 runs away from 5,000.
Luke Fletcher is 41 runs away from the career landmark of 2,000 runs.
Jake Ball needs 64 runs to reach 1,000.
Tom Moores is approaching 1,000 first class runs for Nottinghamshire.
Ben Duckett is also nearing 1,000 first class runs for Notts.
A Notts Outlaws squad brimming with international talent will commence their T20 Vitality Blast campaign against Worcestershire Rapids at Trent Bridge on Thursday 18 July, with adult tickets priced at £10. Secure your seats…