Notts face uphill struggle for County Championship survival

Nottinghamshire are swiftly approaching the do-or-die phase of their County Championship season.

Bottom of the Specsavers County Championship table on 117 points, Mick Newell’s side will surely need to win at least two of their remaining four fixtures to have any chance of staving off the threat of relegation into Division Two.

A disappointing couple of weeks all round for the Trent Bridge club has seen them fail to qualify for the One Day cup after being strongly placed for the majority of the group stages, lose a crunch relegation encounter against Hampshire in the Championship and fall to a disappointing 8 run defeat at the hands of Northants Steelbacks in the first semi-final on T20 finals day over the weekend.

“opening batsman Steven Mullaney described being bottom of the table as ‘unacceptable’ and that they ‘need to pull their fingers out and show some fight’”

The end of Notts’ one-day campaign, however, means that they can now focus solely on survival in the Championship, and they will be hoping that England international Stuart Broad, a man with over 300 Test wickets to his name, will return to the side in their fight against the drop.

If relegation does occur, it will be bitterly disappointing for one of the country’s biggest and richest sides, a team used to battling at the top of the table, rather than at the bottom.

After the most recent loss against relegation rivals Hampshire, opening batsman Steven Mullaney described being bottom of the table as ‘unacceptable’ and that they ‘need to pull their fingers out and show some fight’ in the last month of season.

Meanwhile, a welcome relief from the County Championship saw the Notts Outlaws face Northamptonshire Steelbacks in the first semi-final of the T20 Blast finals day at Edgbaston on Saturday morning.

A fine innings of 84 from growing star and future England hopeful Ben Duckett pushed Northants up to a par score of 161, with overseas starlet Andre Russell (3-20) and England man Jake Ball (2-24) the pick of the bowlers for Mick Newell’s side.

The outlaws, in response, were well on course for attaining their target but the key wickets of Russell and Chris Read, the two set batsman, initiated a collapse that saw the Outlaws slip to an 8 run loss.

Finally, Nottinghamshire’s Alex Hales will hoping for a better time of it in the coming one-day series between England and Pakistan. Hales struggled in the Test series, and amid questions over his prowess as a Test opener, he will be hoping the change to his more natural one-day format will be bringing him a change of fortunes. Jake Ball has also been handed a call-up to the one-day squad in replacement of the injured David Willey.

But despite an impressive T20 semi-final finish, Nottinghamshire’s league position remains in jeopardy. After defeats in August to Yorkshire and Hampshire, can Mark Newell’s side turn it around in their final two fixtures against Middlesex this week and Somerset on September 20th?

Words by Joe Robinson

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