But events proved otherwise and apart from the expected confirmation of Phil DeFreitas as captain for the rest of the season, there was nothing to suggest a county in turmoil as Lincolnshire were beaten by eight wickets. Indeed, in the entire history of the competition, few sides can ever have had as many as 41 overs to spare.
Sadly, this meant only a late, modest flurry of excitement for a good sized crowd on a pleasant, well-organised and hospitable club ground. But the realists among the Lincolnshire side must have sensed that this was how it would be.
With three recent heavy defeats and no sort of batting form behind them, they desperately needed to bowl first on a pitch that bore a legacy of recent heavy rain; although it was nothing more malevolent than a slow, low seamer it demanded patience and positive footwork which Lincolnshire could not always produce.
The presence of low cloud cover on a humid morning completed their misfortune. DeFreitas moved the ball around from a full length, Devon Malcolm scarcely needed a sighter to locate a good off-stump line and from a position of 62 for 7 there was no hiding place.
Mark Gouldstone grafted on the front foot for 46 overs, but Paul Aldred cleaned up the lower order by bowling very straight, whereupon Chris Adams made an unbeaten 71 from 44 deliveries which made it all look deceptively easy on this pitch.
Even he had one moment of fortune at two when a backfoot force off Simon Oakes skimmed through cover's fingertips. After that, he hit six fours and four sixes, putting the ball away with the ruthless air of a man with a point to prove. As he had just spent yet another innings fielding away from his specialist position in the slips, perhaps he had.Reuse content