By Rob Barnett at Trent Bridge
Nottinghamshire settled for Division One safety as they chose not to set Somerset a realistic target on the last day of the LV= County Championship season and the game petered out into a draw.
Notts would have come sixth ahead of their opponents with victory at a beautifully sunny Trent Bridge, but did not score fast enough this morning to leave Somerset something they might chase.
Derbyshire’s relegation yesterday secured the Division One status of both these teams and Somerset went on to gain a fourth batting point that meant Notts must have beaten them to seal sixth.
With no prize money at stake for finishing below third, Notts eschewed risk this morning at the end of seven days that began with them winning the Yorkshire Bank 40 at Lord’s.
One player who had a cash incentive for impressing today was Samit Patel, who needed to add 54 to his overnight seven to take the £10,000 prize for being FTI Most Valuable Player. He managed 22 more and therefore required catches or a top-order wicket, but managed neither so Worcestershire’s Moeen Ali scooped the prize.
Once Patel was out, James Taylor and Chris Read registered fifties, the latter’s unbeaten, in a total of 298. That set Somerset 333 in 45 overs, but they showed no appetite for that and closed on 101 for one from 28 overs. Marcus Trescothick was the man out, meaning he went the season without a first-class century for the first time since 1998.
His opening partner Chris Jones was unbeaten on 55 and Nick Compton 25, the latter going past 1,000 championship runs for 2013, as Somerset ended an anticlimactic 232 behind.
Having put on seven in eight overs by tea with Read and David Hussey off the field, Trescothick and Jones scored more freely amid a distinct end-of-term atmosphere until Brett Hutton made Trescothick his maiden first-class victim, albeit with a long-hop that the former England man pulled to square-leg.
Jones struck Patel for two sixes in an over to the close-in extra-cover boundary and Jones hit two consecutive fours, the first moving him to a fifty, off Mullaney, who raced through overs of occasional spin to give Patel every chance of being MVP. But to no avail as, after Patel’s 11th over, the teams shook hands at 4:30pm.
With the bat, Patel resumed on a bright morning alongside Taylor, who had 23 of Notts’ 139 for three, a lead of 173.
Taylor edged Peter Trego for four to move Notts past 150 and twice sweetly cover-drove Jamie Overton to the rope before cutting Lewis Gregory to the third-man boundary for his fifty.
Patel fell when he edged Gregory to first slip with a loose shot outside off stump. Alfonso Thomas bowled the same line and had Hussey, playing his last innings for Notts, held in the same manner as Patel and also Taylor caught behind for 55 in a wicket-maiden as the hosts lost three wickets for two runs in three overs.
Thomas and Gregory persisted in bowling well outside off, drying up the runs and prompting slow hand-claps from sections of the crowd, but the policy paid off when Jos Buttler’s third slip catch of the day gave Thomas Paul Franks’ scalp on the brink of lunch.
Batsmen and bowlers showed little urgency after the interval, suggesting minimal interest from either side in chasing victory.
Gregory twice in the space of three balls conceded five overthrows to off-side Read singles, first via a direct hit off Thomas’ bowling and then without disturbing the stumps off Craig Meschede.
Thomas bowled with a nine-zero off-side field for one delivery that Read drove through mid-on and runs began to flow as Hutton twice took Trego for two consecutive fours, between which his cover-driven boundary off the same bowler raised a fifty partnership.
Trescothick claimed the new ball at the first opportunity and four deliveries later Overton knocked back Hutton’s off stump, ending an innings of 42 and stand of 75.
Read heralded a 96-ball half-century by stroking Overton through point for his eighth four, but in the next over Trego had Fletcher caught behind via gloveman Craig Kieswetter’s superb take to his right and bowled Harry Gurney for nought, leaving Read on 52 and himself with 4-69.