Nottinghamshire 324 & 279 v Derbyshire 239 & 365/7 (Bob Willis Trophy North Group)
*Derbyshire win by 3 wickets.
01.08.20 – 04.08.20 (match played over 4 days)
The first game at of the new cricket season might not have gone to plan for Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge but they were beaten by their close neighbours in dramatic last gasp fashion in what turned out to be a terrific match between two closely contested sides.
On Saturday morning Notts opened the bat with Nash and new boy Haseeb Hameed taking the team to 100 without loss before the first wicket of the match fell when Nash was bowled LBW by Connors on 59. Duckett & Clarke then went in quick succession before Hameed on 68 fell to the bowling of Reece.
Notts middle order collapse was rescued (not for the first time) by Samit Patel who hit 63 and with 18 year old Joey Evison notching an impressive 38 before Jake Ball scored 34 with the home side on a solid looking 324 with the last wicket falling on early Sunday morning.
Derbyshire in reply fell alarmingly to 26/3 but du Plooy and Critchley put on a century together to give the visitors a fighting chance. Critchley made 45 before he was run out by Mullaney and as quick as that wicket came it seemed Derbyshire fell apart again when Hossein, Hudson-Prentice and McKiernan went for just 14 runs.
Leus du Plooy battled hard and achieved a fantastic 130 from 177 balls with the side eventually reaching 239 all out as Jake Ball and Joey Evison did most of the damage with three wickets a piece.
Notts in response lost Nash early doors to a second ball duck before Duckett put up a quick 23 and Clarke made just two with Connors taking three early top order wickets. Skipper Mullaney aimed to pull things around with a partnership alongside Hameed before falling two short of his half century and when Trego and Moores went in quick succession it looked like Derbyshire could have a fighting chance at winning the match.
Hameed went off Aitchison for 52 from 143 balls and it was left for Patel again to rescue the score hitting 80 at the tail end well partnered (again) by Evison (31) and Ball (22). Notts falling eventually to 279 with Derbyshire set a mammoth task of 364 to win.
Luis Reece and captain Billy Godleman gave the away side a start however before Trego took his first wicket in Notts colours with the visitors on 33/1. Wayne Madsen impressively saw Derbyshire to stumps on Monday night and with the score 129/1 there was a sneaking suspicion that the away team often called the Phantoms had not given up the ghost just yet.
Tuesday morning was bleak, drizzle in the air and cold but Derbyshire were wide awake in taking on the Notts bowling attack. The second wicket of the innings however came when Evison took Godleman for 86 and when du Plooy was trapped LBW by Mullaney for 7 it seemed the match was swinging nice and comfortably back the way of Notts.
Madsen went with the score at 180 and Harvey Hosein followed with just 12 more added. Critchley made 35 whilst Mckiernan hit 20 bowled by Ball with the score 299/7.
With 65 needed and 3 wickets to go and the overs for the day drawing down it looked to be too little too late for Derbyshire but a champion innings by Hudson-Prentice, 91 not out assisted by Michael Cohen on his 22nd birthday who hit 30 saw the counties highest ever first class run chase with just a ball of the match to spare.
Painful for Notts but cricket at its finest, congrats to Derbyshire for a stunning performance, proof that in sport, whatever the score you should never give up.
*Main image @TrentBridge a thrilling finale saw Derbyshire win with just two balls to spare.