Nottinghamshire face their most strenuous examination to date when they head to the west country for a tough five days of cricket.
They will be hoping to consolidate their position at the head of Division Two in the Specsavers County Championship with success over Gloucestershire at Bristol before dropping down the M5 to Taunton, where they will come up against Somerset in the Royal London One-Day Cup.
The vagaries of the fixture computer have sent Notts to Bristol, just a couple of weeks after they defeated Gloucestershire by an innings at Trent Bridge and their opponents haven’t played a match since.
Fast bowler Harry Gurney isn’t too concerned about being reacquainted so quickly with the Gloucestershire batsmen. “Given that we won the game it’s probably a good thing from our perspective,” he said.
“If they’d come and beaten us then perhaps not so much. We go down there full of confidence and hopefully they are a little bit concerned about playing against us because we put in such a good performance against them last week.”
The two counties have remained in separate divisions for the past decade, so this will be the first meeting in Bristol since 2007. Gurney, like several of his team-mates will, therefore, be facing a new experience this week.
“I’ve never played at Bristol but I have been to the ground since the redevelopments and it’s a very nice set up, with new changing rooms. I was due to play there some years ago but it was washed out, so I’m looking forward to this week.”
The 30-year old admitted that his side have quickly come to terms with life in the second tier. “We are all embracing it but we’d rather not be doing it, if I’m honest. We’d rather be in division one, going around the Test grounds and that’s our number one aim; to get back up there.
“But I guess if you wanted to look at one of the positives of playing in Division Two this year, then it is playing against some different players at some different places.”
The former England international picked up a couple of wickets in his side’s three-day success at Trent Bridge but expects more resilience from Gloucestershire this time around.
“I think we would expect them to be a much stiffer challenge in their own conditions and if you go into any game with complacency then you are setting yourself up for a fall, so we will be prepared for a scrap.”
The vibe within the camp is that Notts must fully focus on the County Championship match, despite knowing what comes straight afterwards.
“It will sound like a cliché but we’ve got to be fully focused throughout the Bristol match and try not to think too much about the game down in Taunton,” said Gurney. “But then we’ll be raring to go and looking to give Somerset a good game.
“I think they’ve got a very well balanced side, with some quality batters. They’ve got good balance with all-rounders like Peter Trego, who bats three and can also bowl, the same with Jimmy Allenby and van der Merwe.
“Then there’s obviously the Overton brothers and some spin options so they’re a good team with some good players. We’ll be focusing mainly on ourselves but I’m sure when they look down our team-sheet they’ll be saying similar things, so it should be a great game.”