Nottinghamshire recover to seize initiative against Derbyshire

Nottinghamshire recovered from an all-to-familiar batting collapse to regain the initiative on the opening day of the Bob Willis Trophy match against Derbyshire at Trent Bridge.
Notts put on 164 with their last four wickets to gain the upper hand against Derbyshire.Notts put on 164 with their last four wickets to gain the upper hand against Derbyshire.
Notts put on 164 with their last four wickets to gain the upper hand against Derbyshire.

Habeeb Hameed marked his first game for his new county with 68, sharing an opening stand of 111 with Chris Nash who made 59 but Derbyshire reduced them to 160 for 6 before Samit Patel with 63 from 70 balls inspired a fightback.

Notts last four wickets added 164 to lift the total to 324 with South African left-arm paceman Michael Cohen taking 3 for 47 on debut and in reply, Derbyshire negotiated four overs to close on 9 without loss.

The North Group match began after a minute’s silence was observed for those affected by Covid 19 with players and officials then taking a knee to promote inclusivity in the game.

Once play was underway, Nash and Hameed made fairly serene progress which must have made Billy Godleman question his decision to bowl first.

His seamers were too inconsistent in line and length to apply any sustained pressure although Derbyshire were convinced they had Hameed caught behind off Sam Connors on four.

Hameed played and missed several times and got away with a top-edged pull but he became more assured and three fours in a Fynn Hudson-Prentice over showed his confidence was returning.

After his struggles at Lancashire, this is an important move for the England opener and he reached a maiden first-class 50 for his new county with a cover-driven four off Ben Aitchison.

But by then, familiar cracks were appearing with Nash lbw to Connors and Ben Duckett caught low down at second slip to give Aitchison his maiden first-class wicket.

Derbyshire had declined to use Cohen before lunch and when he finally came into the attack, he struck in his second over when Joe Clarke edged a loose drive behind.

Reece was Derbyshire’s leading wicket taker in the championship last season and his reintroduction from the Pavilion End caused the middle order to implode spectacularly.

Hameed was lbw playing forward and two balls later, Steven Mullaney was well caught in the gully before Peter Trego’s first innings for his new county ended with an edge off Cohen.

The sight of Patel coming in at eight was a reminder that Derbyshire still had work to do to wrap up the innings and the all-rounder engineered a recovery that took his team to respectability and three batting points.

After Tom Moores was caught behind off Fynn Hudson-Prentice, Patel dominated an eighth wicket stand with back foot drives and cuts punishing the bowlers when they strayed in direction.

Cohen was dispatched for three consecutive fours but he had the last word by extracting some extra bounce and movement to have Patel caught at slip.

But the momentum had swung again and Jake Ball tucked into Matt Critchley, driving him over the long off boundary and then swatting him over extra cover for a second six.

Joey Evison posted the 300 with another six off Critchley over cover and although spinner Matthew McKiernan brought an end to the late entertainment in successive overs, the day ended as it began with Notts on top.