An innings of 71 from Notts all-rounder Lydon James was not enough to get their Metro Bank One Day Cup campaign back on track as the home side, Surrey, won their first game in the competition this season, somehow sealing a three-run victory from the final ball of the game.
With the Group stages starting to take shape, there was plenty to play for at Welbeck as Nottinghamshire, at their home away from Trent Bridge, needed this result after their defeat to Hampshire on Friday at this venue. At the same time, Surrey looked to register a win.
The ground on the outskirts of Mansfield has the feel of a traditional outground with banks around the boundary for spectators to get the best views of the action. Marquees with home-made cakes and a low-rise pavilion, it is the perfect setting for county cricket.
There was drizzle in the air when Surrey lost their first wicket. Dom Sibley’s first ball was caught by Ben Slater from Brett Hutton’s third ball of the day. In the following over, the players were heading back to the pavilion, and when they came back on, the game was reduced to a 40-over affair. A throwback to when Sunday afternoons were more straightforward.
The rain didn’t dampen the spirits of those in attendance, and Notts were buoyant in the field. Rory Burns wasn’t at his fluent best as the conditions suited the bowlers.
Surrey were patient, and the boundaries started to arrive in regular intervals as Ben Foakes and Cameron Steel added 111 for the fourth wicket in 19.5 overs. Surrey were 200 for three with five overs of their allocation when Liam Patterson-White took a sharp return catch to dispatch the Surrey stumper Foakes for 68 from 64 balls.
Foakes had been dropped earlier in the day for 15, and Steele had also survived a drop in the field. Some of the hitting was crisp, and when Foakes swatted a pull into the trees on the eastern side of the ground, there was every chance the visitors would post 250.
Notts pulled it back slightly when Steel was caught by Lydon James for a 66 ball 67. Hutton was the pick of the bowlers with two for 45, while Tobey Pettman took two late wickets to leave Surrey 244 for seven.
Nottinghamshire had their target reduced at the start of their innings and now only required 241 to win. It was not a foregone conclusion that Notts would chase the target; a worrying batting display against Hampshire on this ground just two days didn’t bode well.
The top order dug in, if not always as free-flowing as they would have liked; Ben Slater’s 32 came from 44 balls, and Ben Martindale and Haseeb Hameed were going slower than the run rate required.
James, who has become one of Notts more reliable performers over the last few years, took the game by the scruff of the neck along with Matt Montgomery, who, having been called up by Germany in the past month, is having a breakthrough season. The pair added 67 runs in ten overs, allowing Patterson-White the license to keep attacking.
When Montgomery was the sixth man out, Notts needed to score twenty runs at a run-a-ball, and the crowd were now finding their voice as Calvin Harrison and Dane Schadendorf were tasked with seeiing Notts home.
It came down to the final over, and with six runs needed, it looked like Notts were on the verge of a victory that, at times, didn’t look possible. It will hurt that they didn’t finish it as Dan Moriarty, the centre of villainy to the home supporters, picked up two wickets and a run-out to seal an improbable three-run win.