Nottinghamshire v Lancashire, Trent Bridge, County Championship (day 4), 27 August 2010
“No one thinks about Nottinghamshire cricket topically nor in terms of a single year. There is an inescapable feeling of tradition about Trent Bridge that those who care for cricket cannot escape.” – John Arlott, 1970.
I decided to give Grace Road a miss yesterday (so I can’t tell you how the revolution is progressing now that the much-hated and discredited Dav-id-Sun has slunk off to his dacha for the summer). I fancied Trent Bridge.
The match was an important one, the last day of a game which could (and in the event probably has) decided the fate of the Championship, so I’m sure you can read about the day’s events in your morning newspaper. Unless, that is, you happen to read the Guardian, which – unless my eyes are deceiving me – has found room for not one word about yesterday’s county cricket, in spite of having the space for a two page interview with the footballer Gareth Bale and about five pages of speculation about the doings of various football managers. Bah!
It was a good old-fashioned last day county match, with contrived declarations to try to achieve a result. The odd thing was that it was never quite clear whether one side were gifting the other runs or not. At one point in the Lancashire innings Sidebottom went through an elaborate pantomime of pretending to stop the ball with his foot, tripping up and letting it go for a boundary. On the other hand both sides used recognised bowlers – they just weren’t really trying. “Is this joke bowling or not?” asked one of my neighbours, as Keedy wheeled away “I can’t really tell”.
But by lunch all was clear. Nottinghamshire needed 260-odd to win, and – in spite of a teasing tumble of wickets late on, they never seemed much question that they would get them. As the day drew on and the shadows lengthened, Ali Brown (in his Indian summer) and young Hales mastered the bowling with first care then ease and the crowd revealed their allegiances by applauding every run. All over by 5.30 and the Championship half way into the bag.
Alex Hales (21 and a name to bear in mind) must have had a day of mixed emotions. Early on he had the chance to reach his century and achieve the 200 Notts wanted before declaring, but was caught behind for 98. He opened when Notts batted again and had the prospect of batting them through to victory, but was caught behind again for 93.
Trent Bridge (like Lord’s) pulls off the difficult trick of remaining palpably the same place while steadily replacing most of its buildings. Since the last time I visited (which must have been in 2008) they have added this scoreboard, which would have looked at home on the sea front at Juan-les-Pins in the 1920s –
and, of course, floodlights. Soon, I think, cricket grounds will be instantly recognisable as much by the style of floodlights as any other feature. Trent Bridge has opted for a sort of squash racket effect –
This opens up whole new vistas for the sentimental rhapsodists amongst us – “as the shadows of the floodlights crept stealthily over the wicket on that late August afternoon” etc., like so –
Always changing, always the same …