Championship – 6th (Division One)
Royal London Cup (50 over) – Eliminated at Group Stage
Vitality T20 Blast – Eliminated at Group Stage
Captain(s) – SJ Mullaney (First Class and T20); H Hameed (Royal London Cup)
This was a season characterised by change – and not just the ‘huge step up in class’, as Director of Cricket Mick Newell called it, in Division One cricket.
Already without Stuart Broad and Ben Duckett to England duties, Notts saw long-term injuries to Luke Fletcher, Ollie Stone, and Liam Patterson-White reduce their potential bowling strength to the extent that loan signings were brought in and there were more debutants in each format than might have been expected.
Inevitably, perhaps, the result was inconsistency across the competitions. In the County Championship many games were won or lost by large margins and the threat of relegation was all too present until quite late in the season.
An eventual sixth place in Division One looks comfortable but coach Peter Moores insisted that ‘staying up is not a cause for celebration, we need to be better than that’.
Despite the loss of two front-line opening bowlers, the attack delivered, with Brett Hutton, voted Player of the Year, coming top of the division with 62 wickets and the ever-reliable Dane Paterson taking 50 wickets for the third consecutive season. Hutton, with six, had more ‘five-fers’ than any other bowler in the division.
Joe Clarke was the only Notts batter to top 1000 runs in the season, finishing fifth in the national lists with 1,053, which secured him a place in the Division One team of the season.
His best performance – indeed, a career-best – was a magnificent 229no in the home game against Warwickshire when he rescued Notts from looming and potentially damaging defeat to secure a draw after following-on 416 behind.
New Zealand’s Will Young, signed on a short-term contract to bolster the top order, averaged almost sixty in his three games to underline the value of proven quality and experience. Ben Slater, Ben Duckett, Matthew Montgomery were other century makers for Notts in 2023.
Another loan signing, medium-fast bowler Asitha Fernando of Sri Lanka, played in two late-season county games, taking six wickets.
Other County Championship debutants were Ollie Stone, who also managed just two games before being sidelined by injuries, Calvin Harrison and Toby Pettman.
Harrison also made his List-A debut, playing in the Royal London Cup team for The Outlaws. His outstanding fielding, especially his close catching, was a feature in all formats and he contributed effectively with the ball as well.
The stellar signing of 2023 was undoubtedly Pakistan star Shaheen Shah Afridi. A bowler of genuine world-class, he brought some glamour to an otherwise disappointing Vitality Blast campaign, taking twenty-two wickets at 20.81.
Against the Birmingham Bears, he blasted out four wickets in the first over to reduce the opposition to 4-7 and finished with 4-29, but a rapid stand between Rob Yates and Jacob Bethell saw the Bears clinch an unlikely victory and ensure that The Outlaws would not get beyond the group stage.
South-African born Conor McKerr joined on loan from Surrey for the Blast, as did Jack Brooks from Somerset. The Outlaws' other overseas player was New Zealand’s Colin Munro. Established First XI players Haseeb Hameed and Matt Montgomery also played their first T20 games for The Outlaws this season.
The biggest changes of all, though, came as the season ended. Nottinghamshire were already aware that Stuart Broad would not be returning to county cricket as he had revealed his retirement from the game on the penultimate day of the fifth and final Ashes test of the summer.
The club also announced that Jake Ball and Samit Patel would be leaving Trent Bridge at the end of the season. Tributes were paid to both players during the final home fixture with club chairman Andy Hunt calling them ‘an inspiration to all young Notts cricketers’. It was later confirmed that Samit would be joining near neighbours Derbyshire on a two-year white ball contract.
On the final day of the Middlesex game, the club announced that – with immediate effect – the Pavilion End would now be called the Stuart Broad End, a fitting tribute to a great career and some extraordinary performances at Trent Bridge, including that famous 8-15 against the 2015 Aussies and a hat-trick against Sri Lanka.
In October, club captain Steven Mullaney announced that he was standing down from that role, with one year remaining on his contract.
The disappointment of not having a Men’s Ashes Test was off-set with a truly remarkable and successful five-day Women’s Test. Cricket of the highest standard saw Australia win a close-fought game with record attendances throughout. Tammy Beaumont scored her first Test double hundred and both England’s Sophie Ecclestone and Australia’s Ash Gardner returned ‘ten-fer’ performances with the ball.
Later in the summer, Trent Bridge hosted a T20 international against New Zealand, which the visitors won comfortably, and an ODI v Ireland that was a similarly comfortable win for England.
Trent Bridge also staged a full programme for the men’s and women’s Trent Rockets sides in The Hundred.
Perhaps the most unlikely debut came for Matt Montgomery, who has a German passport, and played for Germany v Italy in an ICC World Men’s T20 Europe Qualifier at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh in July.