Nottinghamshire are the champions of England after a pulsating, topsy-turvy final day of Championship cricket. For much of yesterday Chris Read's side looked destined to finish runners-up but a thrilling final 10 minutes at Old Trafford saw them secure a vital bowling point and as Somerset faltered at Durham, the title was theirs.
Few could begrudge Notts, the long-time leaders, their first title since 2005. They finished on the same number of points as the West Country side but took the title by winning more games.
Ryan Sidebottom (who accounted for Karl Brown) and Andre Adams (who removed Mark Chilton and Shivnarine Chanderpaul) were the heroes after Notts had crept up to 400 – securing five batting points – for the loss of nine wickets. "I couldn't heap enough praise on Andre Adams for the way he's bowled this year, and whenever Ryan's with us he's a fantastic asset," Read said afterwards.
Read said that they had decided to go for the bonus points – rather than try to convince Lancashire into a contrived finish – the evening before. "Last night the guys got together over a meal and had a chat," says Read. "We were devastated to see we weren't going to start on time. But we decided on balance that the best route to go down would be to get 400, get the bonus points, and leave enough time to get three wickets."
They were right. Nottinghamshire may not match Somerset for pure romance or Yorkshire, the other county in contention at the start of the day (they lost by four wickets to Kent), for homegrown players but they have proven themselves to be the best over the course of the season. They don't look quite the same without David Hussey – who returned to Australia a few weeks back – but their seam-bowling attack is hard to fault and in Read they have one of the most resolute characters on the circuit.
The Nottinghamshire innings relied on superb knocks from Adam Voges and Samit Patel. Voges scored his first hundred for 13 months, the Australian right-hander hitting 126 off 183 balls. He was aided by a brilliant 96 off 91 balls from Patel as the pair shared a crucial fifth-wicket partnership of 153 in 28 overs to give their effort impetus.
Lancashire's left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan took five wickets for 80 runs, removing Patel, Chris Read, Steven Mullaney, Voges and Adams either side of tea to help reduce the visitors to 390 for 9. But Sidebottom and Darren Pattinson squeezed out the 10 remaining runs.
It left them with a minimum of 16 overs to take the wickets. Sidebottom had Brown caught at first slip by Alex Hales for four in the fourth over of Lancashire's innings. And New Zealander Adams then took two wickets in four balls to clinch the title. He had captain Chilton caught behind by Read for one and then Chanderpaul caught at second slip by Patel. The victory not only secured the pennant but also a first prize of £500,000.Reuse content