Nottinghamshire meet Middlesex in the next round of the County Championship Division Two fixtures tomorrow, the four day game starting May 12, at the world famous Lord’s Cricket ground. Oddly enough, despite the two division set-up, this will be the first meeting between the two sides in a four-day game since September 2016. Both teams have started the season well with three victories each. Middlesex beating Sussex over last weekend by seven wickets.
The last meeting in 2016 saw Middlesex beat Nottinghamshire to condemn the Midlands county to the second division of the championship for the first time in a decade. Samit Patel blasted a quick hundred for Notts but seven wickets from England pacer Steven Finn saw the London club easily chase down their target with five wickets to spare. Middlesex went on to win the title that season.
Previous to that there had been three drawn matches, and the last time that Notts had beaten Middlesex was in June 2014. It was a stunning victory at the Trent Bridge venue, with the home side chasing down 385 to win with more than 11 overs to spare. It was a remarkable turnaround after Middlesex had posted a mighty 505 in their first innings, with Chris Rogers (180), and Eoin Morgan (191), among the runs. Nottinghamshire managed 392 in their first knock, before the visitors declared their second innings on 271 for 9. However, Alex Hales followed up his first innings score of 96 with another 94 runs, and with Phil Jaques (76 off 79 balls), the opening pair put on 156 for the first wicket. Michael Lumb (68), and James Taylor (56 not out), kept up the momentum, before Riki Wessels came in at number six and blasted a quick-fire unbeaten 74 off only 48 balls (5 fours & 5 sixes), to see Nottinghamshire home by six wickets.
One of their earliest meetings came in May 1905, when Nottinghamshire visited the famous Lord’s ground and came away with an easy 198-run win. The away team batted first and totalled 273 with George Gunn missing a century by one run. Middlesex then stumbled from 116-1 to 233 all out as pace bowler Thomas Wass took six wickets for the Nottingham team. Captain Arthur Jones (76), and James Iremonger (86), then put on 118 for the first wicket, and with lower order batsman Thomas Oates adding 57 runs at number ten, the home team were chasing a target in excess of 400. They started badly, 38 for 3, before Bernard Bosanquet, with 93, saw them to 209 all out. Medium pacer Albert Hallam was this time amongst the wickets with 6-46.
The first time the two teams met was in the 1860s. One of Nottinghamshire’s proudest achievements came in 1939 when Walter Keeton recorded the highest individual innings for the county. Played at The Oval, he smashed the Middlesex bowlers for an undefeated 312 in nearly eight hours opening the batting, out of a total of 560. New Zealander Richard Hadlee also made his highest score against the London club in 1984 at the Lord’s cricket ground. Coming in at a troublesome 17-4, he stroked his way to an unbeaten 210 off only 261 deliveries, hitting 24 fours and one six in the process. Pace bowler Kevin Cooper then took a career-best 8 for 44 as Notts won the game by an innings.
Nottinghamshire’s highest team total against Middlesex came in 2006, when centuries from Will Smith (141), Stephen Fleming (192), and Samit Patel (156), helped them post a massive 642-9 declared at the home of cricket. In the same year, 6 foot 7 pace bowler Charlie Shreck produced the remarkable figures of 8 for 31 in 14 overs as Middlesex were shot out for 49 in 27.4 overs in their second innings to give Notts victory by an innings. Shreck dismissed the first eight batsman, and captured an historic hat-trick.
Nottinghamshire are coming on the back of a superb victory over Worcestershire. The star was South African paceman Dane Paterson who took a career-best 8 for 52, and ten wickets in the match. The Trent Bridge club are third in the Division Two table with 73 points, including three wins. They will hope to continue with their recent form in their quest to get back into the First Division but they must do it against the team sitting pretty at the top of the league. Middlesex have 82 points from their four games and a win for either team will take them closer to their target of promotion.
*Article provided by Hitesh Darji (Cricket Correspondent)
*Main image @TrentBridge Richard Hadlee scored 210 v Middlesex for Notts in 1984.