Nottinghamshire’s cricketers head to the south west for their final match in the Specsavers County Championship. Their fate already sealed, with the confirmation that they will be playing in Division Two next season, they now find themselves unwittingly caught up in events at the other end of the table.
Opponents Somerset have never won the county championship, yet are in a position to lift their first title after gate-crashing their way into contention with a strong late run.
The Taunton-based club will need to beat Notts and hope for a favourable outcome in the match between the other contenders, Middlesex and Yorkshire.
Mick Newell, Nottinghamshire’s director of cricket, said he isn’t really surprised that the season has come down to such a thrilling finale once again.
“There are rarely any dead games in Division One,” he said. “There is usually something riding on the outcome of every match at both ends of the table and that will be the case again.
“Somerset have done really well to get themselves into a position where they can win it, so there will be plenty on this for them but for us also. We will be looking to turn in as good a performance as we can.”
Taunton hasn’t always been the kindest of venues for Nottinghamshire to visit, with success there being long overdue. Last season they came within a whisker of picking up their first win on the ground since 1985.Off-spinner Matt Carter took 10 wickets on his first class debut, including figures of seven for 56 in Somerset’s first innings.
“It was an amazing game and Matt had an amazing debut,” recalled Newell. “We hoped we could go on and win it but it didn’t spin as much as we hoped on the final day and flattened out.
“It will be interesting to see what sort of pitch we play on this time because Somerset not only need to win the match but also they will probably need to get a few batting points as well.”
Nottinghamshire may well be cast in the role of party-poopers if things don’t go well for the hosts this week but that doesn’t concern Newell.
“The fact there is so much riding on it doesn’t alter our plans; we’ll take as strong a squad as we can and we owe it to ourselves and our supporters to try and finish the season as strongly as we can.”
(Somerset v Nottinghamshire in the Specsavers County Championship, will be played at The County Ground, Taunton from Tuesday 20th – Friday 23rd September 2016)