Peter Moores praised a “collective effort” after Nottinghamshire qualified for Division One of the LV=Insurance County Championship with a draw against Durham at Emirates Riverside.
The Green and Golds secured their path to the top tier by preventing the hosts from gaining any batting bonus points on day three, amassing an unassailable lead ahead of Durham as a result.
“We dominated, but losing a whole day to rain meant a draw was always favourite,” Moores said.
“But the key job here was to qualify for Division One. There is no doubt that, at the start of the season, our first goals were to get in the top conference and qualify for the Blast quarter-finals, both of which we have achieved.
“To top Group One and get the most points of anyone in the country shows how well we have played. We didn’t get out of the blocks straight away, and that shows the character of the side in terms of how they have built and developed.”
It marks an impressive turnaround from Notts, who endured a testing period in the longer format over previous seasons yet responded with four victories and four draws in Group One this year.
Moores puts the change in fortunes down to a focused, patient and hard-working approach.
“Most people will think that we just got that win against Derbyshire, and then it all happened,” he said.
“Anyone who has been involved knows that we have been growing and building for a period of time. We lost senior players in 2018, 2019 was tough, and then slowly but surely through the winter we worked hard, and came out and played well in 2020 without winning games.
“This year, we have had some outstanding performances from some of the senior guys - Luke Fletcher would be at the top of that list - but a theme has emerged over the last few months where people have stepped up to the challenge needed.
“We have seen it with Joey Evison, Dane Schadendorf, Brett Hutton...the list goes on, and it’s a really good sign, when players come into the side and perform well it says something about the environment.”
The success has been part of a broader plan, though, catalysed by the loss of experienced red-ball campaigners Alex Hales, Harry Gurney, Brendan Taylor, James Taylor and Rikki Wessels, to name but a few.
“Our strategy over the last few years has been clear. We wanted to sign good young players, and we tried to promote our good young players,” Moores said.
“Naturally, they take time to mature, to become consistent and find their game, but we have started to see that with those who have come through the system.
“This match sums it up - two young Notts players, Liam Patterson-White and Joey Evison, who have come through the system, and shone. That’s the reward we get, but that doesn’t happen quickly. The credit must go to the players for the work they have put in, they have had to wait for their chances and they are taking them."
The Head Coach has also been pleased by the manner in which Notts have brought about their success in the County Championship campaign, a firing seam unit perhaps the most obvious triumph.
It bodes well, he says, for the recalibration back into four-day cricket in August, and the future of red-ball cricket at Trent Bridge.
“We have found our way of playing,” Moores said.
“We know those top division games will be tough, with really good teams, but we will go in knowing our style of play, which will be a help.
“The players who will be in the team know how to be successful, and that template is something we can go back to for a period of time. For a lot of teams, one of the biggest challenges will be how quickly they can reconnect to that format, and we feel we will be well placed to do that.
“I am personally passionate about red-ball cricket, I have been all through my career, but I want lads to develop and take their opportunities,” said the Head Coach.
“We knew we had work to do, because we lost so much experience and that takes replacing.
“But, for us to be dominating in both formats is where we want to be. We take nothing for granted, we suffered in that two year period when those who are performing now learnt their lessons - the only way to get better is to do the work and commit totally.”