Notts curse rain as title hopes fade

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Old Trafford

A depressingly familiar scene for the Notts players at Old Trafford, where rain held sway for the third day in succession

Nottinghamshire’s LV= County Championship title hopes are hanging by a thread after rain wrecked a third consecutive day in their decisive clash with Lancashire at Old Trafford.

If Notts thought things could not get much worse after they were limited to one over’s play on the first day and 27 yesterday, they were not even afforded the luxury of taking to the field today.

Intermittent rain consigned both sets of players to the dressing room, denying Notts the chance to add to their overnight 89 for two and giving them plenty of time to ponder what appears destined to be a failed title challenge.

The upshot of another day which taxed weather forecasters, groundstaff and mathematicians in equal measure left Somerset firm favourites to lift the first County Championship in their history.

In short, the title is Somerset’s if they beat Durham at the Emirates Durham ICG, where the weather gods have been significantly kinder than in Manchester.

However, if Somerset fail to wrap up victory on the final day, Notts can pip them to the post by beating Lancashire - in what would have to be a contrived finish that relies on the hosts agreeing to forfeited innings and pre-arranged targets - or collecting an improbable nine bonus points, by virtue, most likely, of scoring 400 and taking three Lancashire wickets.

The latter scenario would leave Notts and Somerset level on points, but give Notts the championship because they won seven matches to Somerset's six.

All those calculations are based on Yorkshire, who sit in third place, not beating Kent in another rain-affected game at Headingley Carnegie, but the fact that the visitors must win to have any chance of staying in Division One means a positive result is a distinct possibility.

Yorkshire, for their part, can be crowned champions if neither Notts nor Somerset win, which further muddies the waters in one of the most confusing end-of-season run-ins in history.

Given that Notts’ principal occupation in this game has been monitoring scores around the country, the dry spells which interrupted the rain at Old Trafford today would merely have deepened their frustration.

The rain relented sufficiently to arouse hope of some play this evening, but an umpteenth shower shortly before a scheduled pitch inspection at 4.30 forced the umpires’ hand.

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