Notts looks to repeat win over Durham

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Nottinghamshire host Durham this coming weekend in the latest round of Specsavers County Championship matches, with the action beginning on Saturday, rather than the customary Sunday start day.

The match will revive memories of a dramatic clash last season which saw Notts pull off an incredible three day success, after being outplayed and out-fancied, right up to its startling conclusion.

Brett Hutton, at 22 years of age, was playing in just his ninth first class match but helped complete a remarkable turnabout.

In a calm, understated manner Hutton cast his mind back to the events of last September. “I just remember us winning more than anything else, I know we weren’t doing very well throughout most of the game but we managed to pull a win out of the hat somehow.”

Going into the match Hutton’s career best bowling performance was three for 44, ironically taken earlier in the season at Durham, but he was to improve upon that, considerably.

On the second day of the match he took his maiden five-wicket haul in first class cricket, returning figures of five for 77. Despite his outstanding efforts, the visitors had built up a substantial lead and were then coasting towards victory before he entered the fray again.

Twenty-four hours after his first innings heroics, he did it again, scything through the north east county to take five for 29, giving him match figures of 10 wickets for just 106.

“It was really nice to contribute to the win more than anything,” recalls the all-rounder, “Getting that first five-for was something I’d wanted to do and having done it, it was then brilliant to get another one in the second innings to back up my performance. Then to take the last wicket to actually secure the win was just brilliant.”

Whilst Hutton has special memories of his own from that day, most people present at Trent Bridge and indeed many of his team-mates, will recall the match for another reason; Chris Read’s 1,000th first class dismissal.

Hutton was the bowler and the batsman was Paul Collingwood, the Durham skipper. It was generally assumed that everyone was aware of how close Read was to his historic landmark. Everyone? Not quite!

“I just sort of remember bowling a decent ball to Collingwood and it went nicely through to Ready off the edge and all of a sudden everybody went wild. This thing popped up on the big screen congratulating him and saying he’d got however many thousand catches, or something!

“He’s been around forever and been one of the top keepers for a long time and I was proud that I was involved. I was aware that he was close and there was some chat before the game about it but because I was sort of mid-spell there were a few things going through my mind but more to do with my bowling.”

Although the Worksop-born all-rounder seems to be fresh on the scene, he actually made his debut in the champion county match of 2011, the same game that Jake Ball also made his first class debut in.

Ball, two years older than Hutton, 23, has gone from strength to strength this season, following on from his first England Lions selection during the winter. Has Hutton targeted a similar route to the top?

“Not necessarily this season but hopefully down the line,” he says. “If it happens, it happens but the main thing, my main focus, is to keep putting performances in for Notts and to keep improving myself as a cricketer. I’ll just go from there, if I get selected for anything higher, honours-wise, it’ll be happy days.”

Before all that, it’s Durham again this weekend and Hutton is hoping to be involved. “I’m really looking forward to playing and putting in another performance like last years.”

(Nottinghamshire v Durham, in Division One of the Specsavers County Championship, starts at Trent Bridge on Saturday 28th May 2015, from 11am)