Nottinghamshire v Worcestershire at Trent Bridge County Championship Division 1

Neil Whitaker reports

Day 1

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE’S Joe Clarke hit a century against his old county Worcestershire at Trent Bridge.

It was his second Vitality Championship century of the season following the 104 he made against Essex last week, this week he hit 105.  When he came to the crease Nottinghamshire were two down in the eighth over with  34 on the board. He joined opener Ben Slater and up to lunch Clarke was very much the silent partner.

But what a transformation after lunch, former Worcestershire player Clarke must have had something special for lunch.  He went into lunch unbeaten on 16, after lunch he added another 24 in 20 minutes. Clarke opened his shoulders against the left arm spinner Josh Baker for consecutive straight boundaries, the first was a six followed by a four.  In Baker’s next over, Clarke  backed away to give him some room and  hit him straight for another six into the lower Radcliffe road stand and two balls later he reached his fifty from 88 balls with five fours and those two sixes.

Clarke, late cut Adam Finch just wide of the diving Jason Holder at a wide first slip. He eased Smith for a big  six over the square leg boundary. He brought up his century by cutting Joe Leach for a couple.

In the end his dismissal was a soft one as he  tried to cut  Baker but top edged it to Gareth Roderick.  His 105 came from 185 balls and included three sixes and nine fours. 

Nottinghamshire captain Haseeb Hameed said: “It was outstanding from Clarke, his start to the season shows what a quality player he is.  I am sure that there will be other players who will step up to the mark during the rest of the season.”

Slater hit his best score of the season of 70 after his failure in last weeks match against Essex to reach double figures in either innings.  Worcestershire gave him a life  in the final over before lunch when on 45 he pushed at Baker but luckily for Slater,  Kashif Ali at short leg couldn’t hold on to the chance.

After lunch he delicately placed Leach to the cover boundary and he brought up his fifty from 103 balls when he turned Baker off his legs for a single. By this time the Nottinghamshire innings was given impetus from Clarke and Slater joined in the fun.

On 53 he pulled Finch to the square leg boundary despite  Nathan Smith’s valiant attempt to catch the ball leaping to his left.  He pulled Finch over the square leg boundary for a six.

The partnership was broken after adding 133 in 38 overs when Slater was strangled down the legside by Finch and Roderick got his second catch.  In truth it was a bad wicket to lose because the ball was always going down the legside  because  Finch was bowling around the wicket.  

Haseeb Hameed added: ‘We all know the quality player that Slater is, and it was a fine knock from him.”

After winning the toss and  deciding to bat Nottinghamshire on the same pitch that they lost to Essex on, captain Haseeb Hameed was soon back in the hutch comprehensively bowled by Kiwi Smith uprooting his leg and middle stumps. He was soon in the hutch by England opener Ben Duckett, whose run of low scores continued when he feathered   Smith to stumper Roderick.

Haseeb Hameed said: “We decided to bat because it’s a used pitch, it’s the same pitch that was used for the Essex  game so it’s in its fifth day. We needed to win the toss but it’s not all about winning the toss you have to play well to win matches.  In the last match we competed well with Essex for three day but still lost the match through a poor final day.”

Smith got his third wicket of the day when Montgomery hung his bat out and Holder at slip flung himself to his right to take a good catch and Smith finished the day with three for 62.  He said: “It was a long tough day but I think it’s pretty even.  It’s a good 

batting wicket but a little bit slow, if we get a coupe of early wickets tomorrow we’re in the match.”

After adding 42 in 12 overs with Clarke, another former Worcestershire player Jack Haynes pushed forward  to  Leach and after an age he was given out by umpire Alex Wharf.  Haynes was disappointed with the decision that he had to drag himself off the field.

Nottinghamshire made two changes from their team which lost their first mat against Essex, Liam Patterson-White came in for Brett Hutton and Fletcher replaced Dane Paterson. For Worcestershire their only change from the team that drew with Warwickshire was Baker came in for Matthew Waite.

Day 2

A NOTTINGHAMSHIRE  record breaking seventh wicket partnership against Worcestershire of 147 between Lyndon James and Calvin Harrison in 48 overs put Nottinghamshire in a strong position on the second day.

They beat the previous record of 139 made by CJ(Cyril John)  Poole and B(Bruce) Dooland at Worcester in 1956. James smashed the former West Indies captain Jason Holder to the cover boundary to break the record.

The partnership was broken when  Harrison, who hit his first Championship fifty for Nottinghamshire, tried to smash Baker over long on but got too far under it and the ball went up in the air.  Former Nottinghamshire player Jake Libby took a well judged running catch with the ball coming over his shoulder.

James was the last man out when he smashed a short ball from Adam Finch to the mid wicket boundary where Josh Baker took a good tumbling catch while James turned appealing to the square leg umpire Ben Debenham for an head high short ball or was James just disappointed that the boundary would have taken him to a century but  James was out.

James said: “I was gutted to get out but it was nice to contribute but I am made up for Harrison.  We just carried on from where we left off last night. We knew that if we could hang around for at least half an hour they would have a few tired legs.

Play started on a cold morning and the strayed to break through to welcome  James fifty  from 108 balls with five fours when he stroked JoeLeach  through the covers for a single.

While his partner Harrison, faced a leg theory field early in the morning.hit two boundaries to the mid wicket boundary in consecutive overs: the first he clubbed  Leach  to bring up the hundred partnership in 227 balls, the second was more stylish off Finch.  He finished the over by guiding Finch to the cover boundary to bring up Nottinghamshire’s third batting point.

Patterson-White went back to Baker and was plumb leg before.  After hitting  Baker for a straight six into the Radcliffe road stand. Luke Fletcher drilled  Baker to long off and set off for a single.  Unfortunately for the big bowler he couldn’t beat Brett D’Oliveira’s direct hit

Opener Rob Jones top scored for Worcestershire with 90, sharing in two partnership’s of 50 and didn’t look in any trouble until he chipped one back to Harrison who had to dive forward to take the catch. Jones hung around but  was told to go.

Former Lancashire player Jones hit his first fifty of the season which came up from a delicate late cut of Fletcher. His fifty came from 105 balls and included four fours and a six with a delicate late cut off Fletcher to the third man boundary.  His six came when  went down the pitch to the slow left arm spinner Patterson-White and blasted him over long on.

He said: “I felt that I was batting really well and I wa ted  to get a hundred for Worcestershire. We would  have liked to get those four Notts wickets early but we did manage to get them out before lunch.

After taking the last three   Nottinghamshire wickets  for 25 runs, Worcestershire must have thought they were back in the match  but they were soon brought down to earth.  Fletcher made an early breakthrough when Gareth Roderick missed a straight ball and was leg before.  Five balls later Roderick was joined back in the hutch by his opening partner Libby who tried  to steer the ball wide of Harrison third slip but  Harrison stuck out his right hand and took a great catch.

James said: “That was a fantastic catch” while Joes said: “ We were unfortunate to lose two early wickets but we stuck to our task.”

Kushif Ali took a couple paces down the pitch to Patterson-White and lofted him over long on for a one bounce four. In the next over Dillon Pennington took the shoulder of Kasif Ali’s bat and the ball flew to the third man boundary to bring up the fifty partnership with Jones.  

Kushif Ali’s run of centuries came to an end when he scored 40 after adding 78 in 35 overs with Jones.  He backed away from Pennington to give him some room and slashed at it and the ball flew to Haynes at third man who took a tumbling catch.

After adding 73 in nine overs with Jones, Adam Hose tried to pull a poor short ball from Harrison but top edged it and the ball went up in the air and looped down to give Harrison a stealing return catch.

Two balls after Harrison had dismissed Jones he got the valuable wicket West Indian Jason Holder who edged a drive and Duckett at slip took the catch in his midriff.  Worcestershire were now 54 short off saving the follow on with only four wickets left.

Jones added: “ The pitch is not spinning massively just out of the footholes. We back ourselves to get any target they set us.  We are just annoyed that we lost those last three wickets.”

James: “Harrison is a talented cricketer, he bowled beautifully and he well deserved his three wickets.  We are 180 ahead and hopefully we can get those last four wickets early, make them follow on and then our spinners can get the wickets”

Day 3

IN A crazy 31 minutes Worcestershire changed the course of the day’s play and put themselves in with a chance of winning the match by taking  six wickets for 19 runs.

Leading the damage was Kiwi Nathan  Smith took four wickets for 0 runs and put himself on a hattrick to bring Worcestershire back into the match.

At 125 for one and leading by 44 on the first innings,it all looked easy for Nottinghamshire, try as much as Worcestershire could they  couldn’t get a breakthrough until the 35th over.  First  Ben Duckett  chipped Smith to Rob Jones at square leg who had to dive forward to take his second catch of the innings.

It went from feast to famine for Nottinghamshire’s centurion in the first innings Joe Clarke. He got an inside edge to Smith and stumper Gareth  Roderick took a great legside catch going to his left.  Smith got his third wicket in his over when Matthew Montgomery played down the wrong line and was leg before.

Smith got  on an hattrick by angling one in at Jack  Haynes to knock his off stump back.  Lyndon James survived the hattrick ball but only just.  He edged Smith but the ball fell short of Jason Holder at wide slip.

Ben Slater who had earlier swept Josh Baker over the mid wicket boundary for a six had a life on 21 when he chipped Smith to Jones at but he couldn’t hold on to head high chance.  But he was soon back in the hutch when he turned Baker into Kashif  Ali at short leg. 

It was the second collapse that Nottinghamshire have suffered in two matches at Trent Bridge.  Assistant coach Ant Botha said: “It was frustrating to lose six quick wickets but credit to Smith  he put us under pressure and four day cricket is a tough game.  If we get another 50 runs someone is going to have bat well to win the game for them.”

 Baker said: “I was fielding at mid off to Smith and he kept telling me what he was going to do with the next ball.  He has fitted in well with us. It was amazing to watch him this afternoon because the match could have got away from us.  But when someone is taking wickets at the other end it took the pressure off me.

We’ll try and get the last three wickets as quickly as possible and I think our batsmen are capable of chasing anything down.”

The last Nottinghamshire wicket to fall was Calvin Harrison who  offered no shot to Adam Finch and lost his off stump.  Earlier in the day he completed his first Vitality Championship five wicket haul with five for 128.  The 25 year old leg spinner  took his third return catch of the innings when Baker chipped the ball and Harrison completed  the catch diving to his left.  Harrison,who bowled throughout the morning session from the Stuart Broad end, formerly the Pavilion end, took his fifth wicket when he switched to the Radcliffe road end and bowled Finch around his legs to give Nottinghamshire a lead of 44.

Botha added: “Harrison has worked hard at his game in the past 12 months at both his bowling and batting and he is a pleasure to work with. We are starting to see someone who will be a real threat but we have to remember that this is only his 12th game.”

While Harrison bowled at one end in the morning session, bowling at the other end  was shared between Dillon  Pennington and Liam Patterson-White as Nottinghamshire bowled 35 overs in the session.  In those 35 overs Worcestershire added 111 for the loss of two wickets.

For Worcestershire Smith hit 58 before he helped Pennington to James at fine leg.  In  Pennington’s previous he was dropped in the covers so it didn’t cost Nottinghamshire anything but it got  Nottinghamshire their third bowling point. In the sixth over of the morning Pennington got one to rise at Smith on 35 and took the shoulder of his bat, the ball could have gone to hand but luckily for Smith the ball fell in no man’s land.

Worcestershire captain Brett D’Oliveira saved the follow on and brought up his fifty in consecutive balls. It would have been doubtful that Nottinghamshire have enforced the follow on and risked batting fourth on an eighth day pitch. He lofted  the next ball into the Radcliffe road stand to bring up his fifty from 84 balls with that six and four fours.  Patterson-White got his revenge in the next over when he hit D’Oliveira on his back foot.

Leading by 44 the Nottinghamshire openers Haseeb Hameed and Duckett made a cautious start but by tea they began to find the gaps in the field more easily.  After three failed attempts by Duckett to switch hit Baker, Duckett eventually found the cover boundary with one.

Worcestershire had to make the Nottinghamshire fight for their runs and finally Haseeb Hameed lost his patience with Baker went for a big hit  over the legside but his bat twisted and got a top edge to it and Jones running the  cover boundary took a comfortable catch.

Duckett drilled Smith to the long on boundary to bring up his fifty from 72 balls one of his fours in his fifty. 

Day 4

FOR the second time in a week Worcestershire were denied a victory as persistent morning rain and then a shower before the umpires were due to inspect forced them to abandon the match at 2.38.

Worcestershire head coach Alan Richardson said: “Both sides will be frustrated by the rain because we had the potential for an exciting day’s cricket. In this game we have  had some good team performances and some outstanding ones.  It was good that the lads stuck at it after losing a big toss but I thought that Nottinghamshire batted well. In the field we took the last three wickets quickly and when we batted we put together four key partnerships after we lost a couple of early wickets.

It thought Nathan Smith, Josh Baker and Adam Finch bowled well and they should be proud of how they stood up and brought back into the game.  Yesterday morning it was a real challenge facing Dillon Pennington’s short stuff and the spinners. 

 Rob Joneswas disappointed not to get a century but he batted well and used his feet to the spinners really well.  He deserved to get an hundred and was  unfortunate that he didn’t.

We have played two very strong sides and we should take heart from what we are doing.”

Nottinghamshire’s Calvin Harrison said: “We had an interesting last session yesterday when we didn’t bat as well as we wanted to. But the wicket was turning and it would have been an interesting finish.  I thought they bowled well and used their skills very well. Smith turned the game around and it’s tough to swing a game back but it would have been interesting if we had played.”

On his batting he said: “It was nice to bat a long time with Lyndon James,  I should have stayed with him a bit longer then he would have got to an  hundred no problem.  But it was good to get a first innings lead. I was pleased to get five wickets. It was nice to  bowl in partnership with Liam Patterson-White and we kept chipping away. I was also  pleased with the catches I took because it’s something I practise before a day’s play and the slip catch went in  nice and clean.”

The result means that Nottinghamshire haven’t won a match out of the two they’ve played at Trent Bridge so it could be a long championship season for them and they take  14 points from the game and Worcestershire 13


April 16, 2024 10:17 am

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