The scene at Trent Bridge on the first day of their final County Championship fixture against Durham last year was understandably of merriment with redemption in sight. Only few doubted what was to come.
Two hours and seven minutes into the final day and Steven Mullaney walked off having led the county to Division Two honours and back to the top tier of English domestic cricket since being relegated in 2019.
Despite missing out on the title by a handful of points and finishing third in 2021, Nottinghamshire were consigned to Division Two based on events from three years ago but responded with eight wins and just two losses in 14 matches to show where they belonged.
The key to their title-winning season was England’s duo of Haseeb Hameed and Ben Duckett notching up over a 1000-runs each. While Hameed enjoyed his most productive season to total 1235 runs at 58.80 on the back of seven fifties and four centuries, skipper Mullaney nearly missed the four-figure milestone by seven runs.
On the bowling front, Dane Paterson picked 56 wickets to build on his debut season’s haul of 51 and will once again be central to their bowling plans alongside Luke Fletcher and Olly Stone. All-rounder Liam Patterson-White led the spin pack with 41 wickets.
“Division One is going to be another challenge all in itself,” Patterson-White told Deep Extra Cover during the side’s pre-season fixture against Loughborough UCCE.
“It’s nice to be on top of the crop but it’s a new season against new opponents so we start again and go again. Momentum’s quite a big thing in cricket. All the lads are feeling good at the minute and it brings us a lot of confidence to go into the first game all guns blazing.”
In comparison, Nottinghamshire’s white-ball results were far more modest in the absence of several key players away on England duty and The Hundred.
Their third-place finish in the One Day Cup, after losing to Lancashire in the Quarter Final, produced mixed results and the side will be hoping to make it to the final they have hosted for the past two years.
Having signed New Zealand’s Colin Munro, who is no stranger to Trent Bridge after enjoying a stellar season for the Rockets last year, and Pakistan’s premier left-arm quick Shaheen Shah Afridi, the county have what it takes to improve on their fifth side finish in the T20 Blast.
Ins: Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Tom Loten (Yorkshire), Colin Munro (Worcestershire), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Middlesex)
Outs: Joey Evison (Kent), Zak Chappell (Derbyshire), Sol Budinger (Leicestershire)
Look no further than Liam Patterson-White.
The left-arm spinning bowling all-rounder finished 2022 as Division Two’s most successful season with 41 scalps but failed to scale the heights of 2021 with the bat when he scored three half-centuries and a ton.
The 24-year-old was rewarded with an England Lions call-up to take on the Test squad in Abu Dhabi as preparation for the Pakistan series in the winter and later traveled to Sri Lanka to feature in two First-Class games.
The UAE trip produced mixed fortunes as injury meant he was ruled out of the one-off game but presented an opportunity to train alongside Jack Leach and pick the brains of Graeme Swann.
“It was nice to be around that bunch of players. The way they go about and the style with which they play their cricket is fantastic. Looking forward to replicating that throughout the season. I took a lot away from the Sri Lanka experience and hopefully that has made me a better cricketer,” he said.
One to watch.
Matthew Montgomery made himself at home at Trent Bridge last season with an 80 against Glamorgan on debut and later struck a career-best 178 in the season’s final match against Durham. Throw in his part-time off-breaks and the Loughborough University student becomes an indispensable part of the middle-order.
South African seamer Dane Paterson headlines the club’s overseas signing across formats having signed a two-year extension recently. Big-hitting Colin Munro, who won the Hundred alongside Alex Hales for the Trent Rockets, and Shaheen Shah Afridi will fill the overseas spots for the entirety of the T20 Blast as the two-time champions look for their first title since 2020.
Best starting XI
- Ben Slater
- Haseeb Hameed
- Ben Duckett
- Joe Clarke
- Lyndon James
- Tom Moores
- Liam Patterson-White
- Olly Stone
- Dane Paterson
- Luke Fletcher
- Jake Ball
Opening fixture: 6th-9th April, Hampshire vs Nottinghamshire, Rose Bowl, Southampton.
Season odds from SkyBet
County Championship – 10/1
T20 Blast – 9/1
One-Day Cup – N/A