Newell keeps on hoping
Director of cricket Mick Newell is refusing to throw in the towel despite seeing Nottinghamshire’s LV= County Championship title prospects all but evaporate on the penultimate day of the season.
Rain washed out the third day of their crucial meeting with Old Trafford, taking the tally of overs lost in this rain-ravaged game to 260.
Notts began the match as the championship frontrunners, boasting a two-point lead at the top of the table, but a haul of eight bonus points at Durham has seen Somerset open up a six-point cushion and emerge as favourites to take the title in what promises to be an absorbing finale.
Victory tomorrow would be enough to earn Somerset a first championship crown in their history, while Yorkshire can also lift the trophy if they beat Kent at Headingley Carnegie and Somerset and Notts fail to win.
Newell knows victory for either of Notts’ rivals will render what happens in Manchester irrelevant, but he and his players have not given up hope entirely.
If both Somerset and Yorkshire do not win, Notts can clinch the title by virtue of collecting nine points.
That would mean beating Lancashire in what would be a contrived run-chase for the hosts – should they agree – or Notts scoring 400 in their first innings and taking three Lancashire wickets in a drawn encounter.
“We’ve been sat talking quite a lot this afternoon,” Newell admitted. “We’ve already started looking at that situation.
“We need nine points, which we could get in bonus points. Or we could have some sort of run-chase with Lancashire tomorrow.
“If Lancashire are prepared to chase a score tomorrow afternoon, then that discussion is going to have to take place.
“That looks like the best option at the moment in terms of trying to get a minimum of nine points.”
Such a possibility would rely on Lancashire agreeing to Notts’ request, although that in turn leads to another debate between the captains over what Lancashire would be prepared to chase in the fourth innings.
Both sides have recent experience of such a scenario, Notts having beaten Lancashire at Trent Bridge last month after being set a somewhat generous 260 to win in a minimum of 64 overs.
“In that situation Lancashire had to win the game,” Newell added. “The boot is on the other foot.
“We chased 260 off 64 a couple of weeks ago. That, to me, would be a similar amount off maybe a few more overs.
“You’ve got to keep the integrity of the game to the extent where you can't give anything away.”