CHRIS TOLLEY, Nottinghamshire's bustling left-armer, enjoyed this return to his home town to take on the county that he left, of his own accord, in 1995. He may be 30 years old now, and categorised on the medium side of brisk, but he gained in pace and bounce with each of the Worcestershire wickets he bagged either side of Friday evening.
Those who chose to forsake the Test match or the supermarket for this attractive club ground on a sweltering day might have expected more of a contest. Worcestershire, with their first-innings centurion Tom Moody still to bat, began the morning needing 248 to win with eight wickets in hand. The target might not have been as testing as that, but Paul Johnson had surpassed Moody with a big hundred to regain the edge for the visitors.
Worcestershire showed in their previous game, at home to Yorkshire, that they can lose heart on the last day. Following on, they capitulated within 44 overs, bowled out for 94 to lose by an innings and 160 runs. This time round they were batting for a possible fourth Championship win of the season, rather than simply for a little pride, but Tolley's early burst from the pavilion end ensured that they spent the day on the back foot.
He had rested on Friday night having made the early dents in Worcestershire's effort, taking 2 for 9 in six overs. Yesterday morning he added three more, in 10 overs, conceding just a run an over. And so with Tolley on 5 for 19, the new Nottinghamshire skipper Jason Gallian - just picking up the reins from Johnson - gave him a rest, though he was not hard-hearted enough to deny Tolley the chance of going on for a career-best tally early in the afternoon.
Once he had persuaded the nightwatchman Matthew Rawnsley to snick into his stumps, Tolley gave Vikram Solanki his second duck of the game - indeed, since being awarded his county cap a week ago, Solanki has collected three blobs in a row. But the vital wicket was that of Moody, caught by a diving Paul Strang at square leg. Though Phil Weston resisted, Worcestershire's chance of grinding on to a victory began to seem purely theoretical.
Half an hour into the afternoon, with Worcestershire now eight down, Gallian threw the ball to Tolley. The golden touch had survived the interval and stubborn Stuart Lampitt was instantly, though clearly unhappily, lbw. Ironically we were then treated to the best batting of the innings, a broad-bladed cameo by Phil Newport, but inevitably Tolley had the last word on his career-best day, finishing with 7 for 45.Reuse content