When Durham all-rounder Paul Coughlin joined Nottinghamshire ahead of the 2018 season, it was expected that his right arm pace bowling and aggressive lower order batting would see him contribute significantly in all forms of the game. Sadly, he suffered a string of injuries and was never seen at his best during his two seasons at Trent Bridge.
Sunderland born Coughlin was a product of the Durham Academy, He made his First-Class debut against Australia A as a nineteen-year-old in 2012 and appeared 29 times for Durham in the longer format. He also featured regularly in white ball cricket and in particular made some solid contributions in T20, where he averaged 35 with the bat and 22 with the ball in 30 matches.
Coughlin was highly regarded when he moved to Trent Bridge and he was immediately selected for the winter England Lions training camp in Australia and subsequent tour of West Indies. He appeared for the Lions in three First-Class and three List-A matches against West Indies A but in the final game in the Caribbean in March 2018 he sustained a serious injury, dislocating his right shoulder after landing awkwardly in the field.
Coughlin’s shoulder needed surgery and it was not until late in the season that he could make his Notts debut in a T20 match at Northampton, where he spent most of the evening as a spectator, marvelling at Dan Christian’s explosive 40 ball innings of 113 not out. Coughlin was unable to bowl and played as a batsman in this and two further T20s and these three matches proved to be his only action of 2018.
He played some cricket over the winter of 2018/19, journeying to Nepal to both bat and bowl for Pokhara Rhinos in the T20 Everest Premier League. Coughlin was fit for the start of the 2019 season and finally made his First-Class debut for Nottinghamshire against Cambridge MCCU at Fenner’s before starting in the first Championship match against Yorkshire at Trent Bridge in early April. His return was short-lived as he sustained a broken finger in the Yorkshire match and then a pulled hamstring in a Royal London One-Day Cup match at Worcester just a few weeks later.
This left Coughlin on the sidelines from May until August when he roared back into action with a four-wicket haul and a hard-hit century at Lady Bay for the Seconds, propelling him back into the first eleven for a run of four successive Championship matches through to the season’s end.
After his two injury-plagued seasons with Nottinghamshire, Coughlin expressed a strong desire to return to the North East for family reasons. The club agreed to release him from the final year of his contract and he re-joined Durham. In all, he started 10 matches for Notts across the three formats of the game, scoring 224 runs and taking 11 wickets.
Paul Coughlin turned 28 years old at the end of the 2019 season and so with better luck with injuries still has time to make a significant impact in the game.