Red Ball Report

Following on from their heavy defeat in the first match of the season, Nottinghamshire have managed to reach the mid-table range with one win in seven games in Division One of the County Cricket Championship. In a fixture spoiled by the rain, Joe Clarke struck a century and Lyndon James hit 96 batting at number seven against the visiting Worcestershire team. Their third match of the season saw Notts struggle against Somerset having been dismissed for 193 first-up, and then seeing the opposition amass 454 in their first innings thanks mainly to a ninth wicket stand of 139.

The game was salvaged however as the third wicket pairing of Will Young and Clarke put together a magnificent unbeaten partnership of 392. Just 14 runs short of the county’s record for any wicket, New Zealand’s Young made 174 and wicket-keeper Clarke smashed a superb 213 with 25 fours and one six, his third hundred of the season in as many games. They then had the better of another drawn game, this time with Warwickshire. England stalwart Ben Duckett was in supreme form with a bludgeoning 218 off 264 deliveries including 26 hits to the boundary.

A first win of the season followed versus the Red Rose county of Lancashire. Batting first, the opposition totalled a respectable 331 with the county’s opening attack of Olly Stone and Dillon Pennington picking up three wickets each. Captain Haseeb Hameed then compiled the second highest individual score of the season, a mammoth 459-ball effort of 247 with 25 boundaries. With pace bowler Stone adding a career-best 90 batting at number nine, Nottinghamshire took a healthy first innings lead of 172. An inspired spell from new recruit Pennington, who finished with seven wickets in the match, saw Lancashire slump to 61 for 6 in their second innings. Notts eventually ended up chasing 81 to win the game and managed to reach their target for the loss of only one wicket.

Despite this victory, the county succumbed to a five-wicket loss at home to Hampshire in their next game. James made a brave unbeaten century in the first innings, batting at number seven, and the opening attack of Stone and Pennington shared another seven wickets. However, a disappointing second knock saw the visitors needing only 169 to win. They were reeling at 44 for 5 before the sixth wicket pair took them home without any further mishaps.

The latest fixture saw Nottinghamshire visit the lovely ground of Worcester, which has been blighted by the rain and its elements in recent times. Not surprisingly, the precipitation had the final say in a heavily reduced game. The county however had the much of the better outing in the game. Put in, the home side plummeted to 80 all out in 31.1 overs. Paceman Luke Fletcher picked up 3 wickets for 18 runs in nine overs, and the in-form Pennington continued his fine start for the county with 3 for 25 in 10.1 overs. There were also two wickets each for James and Dane Paterson. Skipper Hameed struck another century, a sedate 100, and Clarke added an unbeaten 73 off 126 balls. But with the score on 234 for 3, not much was destined to happen as three of the four days was a complete washout! Notts are now due to host Somerset in just under a month’s time, hoping for better weather, as the limited over and twenty20 fixtures get under way soon.

Looking at the stats, Clarke has accumulated an impressive 629 runs at an average of 69.88 so far, and Hameed has 549 runs at 54.90. There have been three double centuries by the county’s batsmen, and former Worcestershire player Pennington has a fine haul of 24 scalps at 23.83 in his debut season. Nottinghamshire play their next fixture now as the twenty20 outfit the Notts Outlaws against the Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Trent Bridge in the final week in May in the regular ‘Blast’ competition.

*Article provided by Hitesh Darji (Cricket Correspondent)

*Main image @TrentBridge Joe Clarke and Haseeb Hameed have both averaged well with the bat.

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