Championship – 6th (First Division)
Royal London One Day Cup (50 over) – Quarter-Finalists
Nat West T20 Blast – Quarter-Finalists
Captain(s) – Steven Mullaney (First Class and 50 overs); Dan Christian (T20)
Notts were very much a team in transition in 2018, having lost club captain and legend Chris Read, Michael Lumb, Brendan Taylor, Brett Hutton, Greg Smith and the influential James Pattinson from the previous year’s roster. In came Chris Nash from Sussex, along with Paul Coughlin, 25, a highly rated all-rounder from Durham. The overseas slot – for the first half of the season – was taken by New Zealander Ross Taylor, a player with considerable international experience.
Notts were dealt a blow before a ball was bowled when Coughlin badly injured his shoulder diving in the field during the England Lions tour of the West Indies, his season being limited to three T20 matches. Chris Nash suffered a similar injury in a floodlit game; he too, missed the greater part of the season. As Alex Hales had announced his intention to play only white-ball cricket in 2018, Notts started the season with a first-team squad of just 16 professionals.
Notts got off to a tremendous start winning three of the first four championship games. The early season wickets were particularly spicy and with the experimental rule of the away team having the option of inserting their opponents still in place, this worked to Notts’ advantage. A strong seam attack of Broad, Ball, Gurney and Fletcher were all fit and raring to go and they all bowled outstandingly through the first tranche of championship fixtures, Notts were sitting on top spot when the 50 over competition commenced in mid-May. Unfortunately, Ball – the spearhead of the attack – was only to play only one further championship game due to England call ups and injuries.
The final six games were very disappointing, resulting in five defeats, as the small squad was exposed for lacking depth. The seam attack was over-stretched and the batting line up remained suspect despite the arrival of Kraigg Brathwaite (West Indies) as the replacement overseas player and Ben Slater and Ben Duckett, from Derbyshire and Northants respectively.
At the end of the season awards, wicket-keeper Tom Moores capped off his first full season behind the stumps for the Green and Golds by being awarded both Player of the Season and Uncapped Player of the Season. Deserved winner of the Specsavers County Championship Player of the Season was Luke Fletcher after taking 38 wickets at an average of 25.71.
The batting was disappointing; only late comers Brathwaite and Slater averaged over 35. Ross Taylor, who fielded superbly, only had one true match winning innings at Chelmsford hitting 146 – Notts’ highest individual score of the season.
In the 50-over Royal London Cup, Notts qualified for the knock-out phase recording five wins out of eight in the group stage but succumbed to Kent in a home quarter-final. The home defeat against Warwickshire held on Family Fun Day was played in front of a record List A crowd of 14,357.
Notts Outlaws decided to go with the same two overseas players for their T20 campaign as they had used in 2017, namely captain Dan Christian and New Zealand leg spinner Ish Sodhi. Notts crucially won their last three zonal games against Yorkshire home and away and at Worcester to gain an away Quarter-Final at Taunton where Somerset were victorious by a margin of 19 runs in a match delayed by 24 hours by heavy rain. The highlight of the campaign was T20 skipper Dan Christian’s 113* off 40 balls in the game at Northampton. The Aussie, who won three successive Man of the Match awards, finished with 415 runs with a strike rate of 173 runs per 100 balls. Crowds at Trent Bridge were excellent with an average of 11,377 attending the seven 2018 home games in the competition.
After the season Riki Wessels signed a three-year contract for Worcestershire ending his successful eight-year association with Notts. Also departing were Matt Milnes, Billy Root and Will Fraine who were heading for Kent, Glamorgan and Yorkshire respectively. Jack Blatherwick signed his first full professional contract with Notts.
Trent Bridge hosted India in the Third Test as the visitors won by 203 runs with the visitors’ captain Virat Kohli scoring a second innings century. Stuart Broad picked up three first innings wickets. In the 50 over match versus Australia at Trent Bridge in June, England racked up a record 481 for 6, with Alex Hales scoring 147. England romped home by 242 runs. The following month India won a 50 over contest against England by eight wickets with Rohit Sharma finishing unbeaten on 137.