Notts crash at Trent Bridge
Nottinghamshire failed in their improbable final-day bid to wrest back the LV County Championship title after losing to Hampshire by 203 runs at Trent Bridge.
Although Chris Read’s side went into the final round of matches with a healthy 10-point advantage over Durham, and began this match impressively, they failed to recover from a first-innings batting implosion on the second day.
Set a massive 442-run target in two-and-a-half sessions to claim their second Division One crown in four years, Nottinghamshire went down swinging to complete their second fall at the final hurdle on this ground this summer.
Earlier this month Sussex stole the NatWest Pro40 crown, culminating in a fourth Nottinghamshire defeat in five matches when Murray Goodwin hit the final ball for six.
Coach Mick Newell challenged Notts to rid themselves of a choker’s tag heading into the second half of this match but although Samit Patel led a brave counter-attack their earlier failings cost dear.
Durham’s early-morning demolition of Kent’s lower order confirmed that only a Nottinghamshire victory could deny them a maiden Championship season success in their 16-year existence as a first-class county.
But in-form Hampshire ensured they faced the stiffest of tasks, setting a 442-run target in a minimum of 76 overs.
They bagan badly, losing three wickets before lunch, but England one-day player Patel launched into his second half-century of the match to offer brief hope of the unthinkable.
He reacted to the loss of fourth-wicket partner Ashwell Prince by striking four fours from one James Tomlinson over, the last of which took him to 50.
But his 94-run alliance with Bilal Shafayat was terminated by a stunning running catch by Dimitri Mascarenhas, who took the ball over his head having set off from mid-on, to give left-arm spinner Liam Dawson a success.
Shafayat, whose 48 included a handsomely-struck straight six, departed soon afterwards when he mishit a drive off leg-spinner Imran Tahir and Mascarenhas snapped up another low chance.
That left Nottinghamshire 207 for six at tea and with their departures went any chance of getting close.
Former England man Read twice lofted the ball into the stands during a breezy, unbeaten 47.
But Tahir ran through the tail for the second time to finish with eight wickets in the match.
It was all over at 3.57pm when last man Charlie Shreck’s heave spiralled a simple chance to Michael Carberry at point.
Nottinghamshire displayed their intent when Graeme Swann, sent in first to pinch-hit, found the boundary three times in the opening overs before his adventure cost him his wicket.
Swann was bowled aiming to the leg-side off Mascarenhas, who then dismissed Mark Wagh two balls later by locating the outside edge, and Sean Ervive held the catch at second slip.
Lanky opener Will Jefferson took advantage of the open spaces in front of square on the off-side - Chris Tremlett bowled to six slips with the new ball - to drive several boundaries.
But it was the stroke which saw him perish for 24 on the eve of lunch when he failed to clear James Tomlinson at mid-off and handed Mascarenhas a third success.
His fourth came when left-hander Prince poked a return catch in the eighth over of the afternoon.
Hampshire ploughed on with the bat for the first 70 minutes this morning to further deteriorate Nottinghamshire’s fading hopes of silverware.
Dawson brought up a maiden first-class hundred as the visitors added 73 in 18 overs on the fourth morning.
Dawson, 18, bettered his previous-best score of 38 yesterday and exhibited some glorious strokes this morning on his way to three figures.
Consecutive boundaries off Charlie Shreck in the sixth over of the morning were particularly memorable - a six over extra-cover followed by a powerful off-drive.
He got to his century with a tickle off his pads from the bowling of occasional medium-pacer Bilal Shafayat.
That signalled the declaration at 449 for five with Nic Pothas unbeaten on 125.