There have been contrasting fortunes for Nottinghamshire’s cricketers at the start of the new Specsavers County Championship season, with victory over Lancashire being followed by their recent defeat against Yorkshire.
The points on offer for a win mean that Notts are sitting quite comfortably at this early stage of the campaign, with Head Coach Peter Moores – the former Worcestershire wicket-keeper – taking lots of positives from what he’s seen.
“Twenty-odd points after two games is a solid start for us,” he reflected. “We’ve shown we can play really good cricket because of the performance last week against Lancashire.”
Whilst his bowlers have picked up maximum bonus points, Moores’ side has struggled for runs so far. In the first match they were reduced to nine for four in their second innings and followed that up by sliding to six for three against Yorkshire.
“April and May in England is always a tough time for the batters,” said Moores.
“They key is to keep getting stuck in and to keep things really simple.
“Anyone can get a good ball at this time of year, especially with all the moisture that is around but the focus for me now is to see these guys start scoring significant scores. A significant score for me is going beyond 80.
“Gary Ballance did that for Yorkshire and it had a real impact on the game.”
Nottinghamshire’s next fixture is also away, against Worcestershire, the side that accompanied them up from the second tier at the end of last term.
The Blackfinch New Road side enjoyed the better of the meetings in 2017, defeating Notts in all three disciplines, including the championship clash at Trent Bridge.
“We played them just after the T20 competition finished last year,” recalled Moores.
“But I think we’ve got them at a good time this year and Stuart (Broad) coming back into the side is a real boost for everybody.”
Batsman Riki Wessels is also looking forward to the fixture, both for immediate and for sentimental reasons.
“After the loss to Yorkshire it’s nice to get straight back onto the horse,” he said. “I made my Notts debut there in 2011 and this will be my 99th match for them.
“New Road is a lovely place to go when the sun shines, it’s a beautiful ground and somewhere that I really enjoy playing at.
“It’s definitely amongst my top three grounds in the country. I’ll enjoy going there and it’ll be even better if we can pull off a big win.”
Whilst Worcestershire pipped Notts for the Division Two title last September, Wessels feels that now counts for nothing.
He said: “We won two trophies last year and they got promoted the same as us but that’s all in the past. What’s gone by doesn’t really matter.
“They’re going into this game off the back of two defeats and at least we’re got a win in the bank and I’m sure we’d rather be where we are right now.”