Nottinghamshire have beaten Lancashire in a nail-biter to continue their fine start to life in Division One of the County Championship with the Green and Golds registering their second successive red ball win of September to go top of the table and edge nearer to a Lords Final and a rewarding Bob Willis Trophy match-up that will draw the 2021 summer season to a title-winning close next month.
The complications of the points already made from the earlier group stage and the three matches played before now are pretty much straightforward to iron out, with a ten point gap at the top of the table, should Notts now win their final two matches (perhaps even at least one), they’ll be playing in a Lords final with the chance to be crowned overall season champion, a realistic opportunity now for a team sitting pretty in the division with just Hampshire & Yorkshire (of the regular season) to play.
Against Glen Chapple’s Lancs, Peter Moores men were put into bat at the toss by Dane Vilas on Sunday and recovered from the early loss of Ben Slater to tickle the hundred mark through Ben Duckett (59) and Sam Northeast (65).
Joe Clarke also registered a half century but a collapse down the order saw Notts eventually fall to 272 with a late rally from Luke Fletcher who scored 27.
In response, Lancashire lost two overnight wickets for just 28 runs and on Monday, despite Josh Bohannon’s efforts in scoring 35, the visitors failed to make positive inroads on the Notts score, falling 104 runs short of first innings target with the Notts bowling attack devastating, lead by Brett Hutton with 5 for 62 and Dane Paterson taking 3 for 39.
Notts followed up in bat with a healthy response by Slater & Duckett reaching the half century between them before five quick wickets for less than 60 runs brought the red roses back into play, Lyndon James however had other ideas with a best ever 91 to again take the tie away, helped by Tom Moores (97) to produce a sixth wicket partnership of 176, Notts eventually declaring on Tuesday afternoon 339 for 8 leaving a whopping 444 for Lancashire to win the match.
That tally looked even trickier to catch, when Luke Fletcher took his 400th first class career wicket, that of Alex Davies for a first ball duck. Luke Wells and George Balderson however surged the scores to 115/1 overnight, but the final day went the way of Notts, just, slowly picking off their opponents in the sunshine with Wells out for 59 before Bohannon and Vilas took early exits, Balderson’s innings coming to an end off the bowling of Patterson-White for 77 before Jones, Croft and Lavelle went all with the score on 210.
Lamb & Bailey stuck around late past tea to make things awkward, a record ninth wicket partnership breaking a 100 year record, reaching well over the hundred mark too before Bailey was finally bowled by Dane Paterson for 52.
That left Saqib Mahmood, injured in the first innings, with a runner for the second, needing to bat out the remaining 16 or so overs of the match, but after an initial good start he fell short to Hutton, caught Slater, to end the match in Notts delight.
Next up for Notts is a trip to Hampshire at the weekend with the green and golds edging nearer to a first title win since 2010.
*Main image @TrentBridge Notts left it late to take victory.