DAY ONE REPORT
It was an action-packed beginning to the season for Worcestershire at Trent Bridge, when on a day that saw twenty wickets fall, Worcestershire lead by 12 runs, after being all out for 130 in their first innings, in response to Nottinghamshire’s 118 all out.
From the 12, who were in the initial squad, Jack Shantry was left out, meaning Michael Klinger and David Lucas would make their County debuts. Worcestershire invited their hosts into bat on a cloudy, grey morning and Alan Richardson got the early breakthrough after four balls, when Alex Hales, on 4, edged an away swinger to Vikram Solanki at first slip. Soon afterwards, Lucas got his first wicket for the County when Michael Lumb edged behind to Ben Scott for 3 and then Richard Jones took the wickets of James Taylor, caught by Alexei Kervezee at point for 4, Riki Wessels, caught in the slip cordon by Klinger, for 0 and Chris Read, again caught in the slip cordon, by the captain Daryl Mitchell, for 4 to leave Nottinghamshire deep in trouble at 34-5.
Neil Edwards, who edged his first ball just short of Scott, and Paul Franks steadied the ship and managed to put on 40 for the sixth wicket but on the stroke of lunch, Edwards was LBW to Moeen Ali for 21, with the score on 74. With both seam and swing movement counting for most of the dismissals, Ben Phillips continued the trend when he edged another Richardson away swinger to Solanki at first slip for 2. Graeme White cut a wide delivery to Kervezee at point, off Jones, for 14 and then the same combination accounted for Andre Adams 2 balls later, for 0, to give Jones his fifth wicket. Jones was to end up with outstanding figures of 6-32 off 10.4 overs when Luke Fletcher edged to Solanki in the slips for 0, with Franks unbeaten on 51, and the hosts were all out for 118 in 41.4 overs. Richardson finshed with figures of 2-28 off 15 overs, Lucas 1-36 off 11 overs, Ali 1-3 off 2 overs and James Cameron 0-9 off 3 overs.
Worcestershire’s reply had got to 15-0 when Mitchell got a delivery that seamed back and was given out lbw to Ben Phillips for 5. At 33-1 Solanki was bowled, from another Phillips delivery that seamed back, for 5, Ali edged behind to Read off Adams for 1, Klinger had got to 29 when, he also, edged behind to Read off Fletcher and when Cameron was out, again caught behind by Read off an Adams delivery that nipped away, Worcestershire had lost 4 wickets for 12 runs to leave them on 45-5 just before tea.
No more wickets fell in the afternoon session but then, after tea, Kervezee was bowled by Fletcher for 18 and when both Scott (12) and Shaaiq Choudhry (20) were given out lbw to Phillips and Franks, respectively, the County were 107-8. Jones and Lucas took Worcestershire into a first innings lead and then the final two wickets saw Lucas miscuing a pull shot, which was caught by a diving Hales, from first slip, for 17 and Richardson edging behind to Read off Franks for 4 as the visitors all out for 130 off 49.4 overs, with Jones not out on 10.
So an eventful day, which ended up pretty much even after the first day’s play.
DAY TWO REPORT
Worcestershire endured a long day out on the field as Nottinghamshire batted throughout day two at Trent Bridge. At stumps the hosts were on 355-7, an overall lead of 343 runs.
The Notts openers had some difficulties early on as Neil Edwards survived a couple of lbw appeals, from both Alan Richardson and David Lucas, and Alex Hales had edged to Michael Klinger at third slip but Klinger failed to hold on whilst diving to his left. Once they saw off the new ball they both managed to settle and it was becoming a frustrating morning session for the County, particularly when James Cameron dropped Edwards on 30. But Cameron made amends when,15 minutes before lunch, he got the wicket of Hales, who mistimed a drive to Richard Jones at extra cover for 46, with the score on 94. Soon afterwards, Edwards was to depart, given out lbw to Richardson for 48, and at lunch Nottinghamshire were on 106-2.
After lunch James Taylor had moved on to 13 but was then lbw to Richardson when he didn’t play a shot to a ball, which nipped back and Michael Lumb had made 40 before he fell to Shaaiq Choudhry, getting an outside edge to wicket-keeper Ben Scott, with the score on 183-4. But any hopes of a flurry of wickets were to subside as both Riki Wessels and their captain Chris Read were determined to take control and unsettle the County’s attack and this they achieved with runs being accumulated at a good rate either side of tea.
Their fifth wicket partnership had reached 134 when, with the second new ball, Lucas got one to swing into Read and was out lbw for 68 off 122 balls. Paul Franks didn’t last long second time around as he was out lbw off Richardson for 6 but the player of the day was Wessels, who got to his century off 128 balls, containing 13 fours, and he remains unbeaten on 104. Lucas, with the final ball of the day, trapped Ben Phillips lbw for 16 but it was the home side’s day and the County face a tall order after two days.
DAY THREE REPORT
Worcestershire’s hopes of victory at Trent Bridge suffered a late blow on the third day as the County ended on 258-6, requiring a further 134 runs to win.
Nottinghamshire began the day on 355-7, a lead of 343 runs, with Worcestershire hoping to get the three remaining wickets as quickly as possible. Over gloomy skies the visitors struck early as Graeme White was caught by Michael Klinger at third slip off David Lucas for 4. Riki Wessels was the ninth wicket to fall as he was lbw to Alan Richardson for 113. Andre Adams briefly resisted with some lusty blows but then had his middle stump knocked out by Richardson, who took his 450th first-class wicket, for 25 and the hosts were all out for 403. Richardson ended up with 5-95 off 32 overs, Lucas took 3-127 and Shaaiq Choudhry (1-29) and James Cameron (1-21) were the other wicket-takers for the County.
Worcestershire, requiring 392 runs to win, began with a bright opening from Klinger, who hit 4 4’s, but on 22, he nicked a delivery from Ben Phillips to Chris Read, with the score on 26. Vikram Solanki struck 2 4’s before he had a life, when he was dropped at first slip by Alex Hales on 20, but Solanki was also to go for 22 when he loosely drove to White at point, off Adams, and the County were on 61-2.
Captain Daryl Mitchell had earlier been given a reprieve when, on 9, he was given out lbw by umpire, George Sharp, who then changed his mind when he realised that Mitchell had hit it. Along with Moeen Ali, their third-wicket partnership was turning into a promising situation, with Ali going to his 50 by hitting a 6 into the New Stand and his second 6 brought up their century partnership. Mitchell got to his 50 by cutting, backward of square, for 4 and the hosts were becoming frustrated as they were getting little help from the pitch. With the partnership reaching 174 and the new ball more than 5 overs away, Ali edged behind to Read off Adams for an excellent 94, off 152 balls, including 10 4’s and 2 6’s and the score was 235-3.
Nottinghamshire then took the second new ball, as the floodlights were on, and a further three wickets were to fall. Alexei Kervezee edged back onto his stumps off Phillips for 4. Mitchell, though, got to a superb century, with his 12th four, off 237 balls but 2 balls later the captain was bowled to a ball that came back slightly by Luke Fletcher for 102 and the next delivery saw Ben Scott bowled for 0, shouldering arms to a ball that came back sharply, off Fletcher, with the score on 253-6.
Cameron and Choudhry survived to the end of the third day by adding a further five runs and although the odds are against Worcestershire it could still be an intriguing final day in prospect.
DAY FOUR REPORT
Worcestershire suffered a 92 run defeat at Trent Bridge as Nottinghamshire only needed one hour, on the final day, to take the four remaining wickets.
Worcestershire lost their seventh wicket in the first over of the day when Shaaiq Choudhry was adjudged lbw off Luke Fletcher for 1, with the score on 261-7. James Cameron survived in the next over when he was dropped by Michael Lumb, at third slip, off Andre Adams and David Lucas also had a life, when Adams couldn’t hold on to an edge at second slip. Their eighth-wicket partnership had reached 33 but Lucas, when attempting to drive off Adams, dragged the ball onto his leg stump and was bowled for 12.
Richard Jones mistimed a slower ball back to Adams to be caught & bowled for 3 and although Cameron survived for a second time, as Neil Edwards dropped him at second slip, the end came shortly afterwards as Alan Richardson was lbw to Fletcher for 0 and Worcestershire were all out for 299, with Cameron unbeaten on 27.
An ultimately disappointing start to the season but there were many positives to be taken out of this match.