Thursday, 15 May 2014

Wessells sets up a great day

posted by John Winn

I had originally intended to visit Trent Bridge on Monday but with good weather promised for yesterday I delayed my visit and was rewarded with a day in the sunshine at one of my favourite grounds and a match that finished just in time for me to catch my train home.

I had last visited in 2011 when rain spoilt the day but no danger of that yesterday and having paid my £10 I took a  seat which gave me probably the best view in county cricket.

Notts had begun the day with a lead of just 11 over Northants but in a breathtaking exhibition of hitting this was extended to 161 in an hour and a quarter in which Wessells hit seven sixes and scored at a run a minute before he was out for 158. I found my self sitting among the Andre Adams fan club and they became increasingly exasperated as first Siddle and then Shahzad entered the arena before their hero. Even when the  former Yorkshire player hit 36 off 25 balls it brought only 'he can bat a bit but not like Andre' from my companions. Read declared the innings closed and gave his side over 70 overs to dismiss the visitors who have found life in the top division even tougher than they might have imagined.

Shahzad had Middlebrook lbw before lunch and the afternoon saw some excellent bowling from Australian Peter Siddle. Clearly committed to the cause he bowled a long spell from the Radcliffe Road end in which he took four wickets including an athletic caught and bowled. At tea Northants were six down and still 38 behind and dire became very dire when Shazhzad took two wickets in the first over after the interval. A stand between Crook and Chambers began to eat into the remaining overs and equally importantly narrowed the gap to the point where it looked as Notts might have to bat again. The faithful around me began to get a tad tetchy and in a surprising switch of loyalties the ringleader of the AASC betrayed Andre with  cries of 'Bring on Sammy'. Eventually these cries reached Reed's ears and Patel S took over from Siddle and produced a high full toss which Crook gently returned to him. Genius. The cries of 'What did I tell you?' could be heard at Grace Road.

Any chance that we might get into the last hour were squashed when Shahzad completed a memorable day for himself and his club when he trapped Chambers in front and after due deliberation Michael Gough raised the finger. Notts' first 24 point return since 2010 sent the remaining crowd home happy: the few from Northampton that I saw had disappeared by tea, and raised the homesters to fourth in the table with their second win of the campaign. But for a defiant last wicket stand against Durham, Northampton would have lost all four of their opening games.

In my pursuit of membership of the 153* club Notts v Northants was my 142nd entry, next is Worcestershire v Essex at New Road next week. Roll on.

* the number of matches required to see every county play every other county once in championship cricket.

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