Notts and Derbyshire prepare to go head to head to kick off new cricket season

Derbyshire and Notts begin their new campaign against each other at Trent Bridge on Saturday. (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images)Derbyshire and Notts begin their new campaign against each other at Trent Bridge on Saturday. (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images)
Derbyshire and Notts begin their new campaign against each other at Trent Bridge on Saturday. (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images)
The local rivalry between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire has always been pretty intense, although the build-up to this weekend’s meeting at Trent Bridge has been understandably more low-key than in previous years.

This fixture has traditionally meant so much to fans from both counties and the desire to do well is felt keenly in both dressing rooms.

Amongst the handful of players to experience the East Midlands derby from both perspectives is Scott Elstone, who spent the first part of his career at Trent Bridge before moving down the A52 to have three seasons at the Incora County Ground.

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A keen follower of Liverpool FC, the former county all-rounder laughed at comparisons between this weekend’s match and those featuring his favourite team.

“Notts v Derbyshire isn’t quite Liverpool v Everton but I’m delighted they were able to win the Premier League. It’s just a shame that it was all behind closed doors and the fans weren’t able to be there,” he said.

“It’s going to be the same at Trent Bridge, of course. This has always been a big game for the fans. It has always been a bit lively between those two, especially the Friday evening T20s.

“There’s always been a great atmosphere, no matter at which ground it’s played at,” he added.

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“When I started with Notts and went over there it could be quite daunting. I’d usually field on the boundary edge, so if you mis-fielded or dropped a catch you’d get all sorts of abuse.

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“They have been great games to be involved in though, the sort of fixtures you long for and look out for.

“When I moved counties both sets of fans were really supportive of me. I think everyone knew, realistically, with the squad that Notts had at the time that I was never going to get much of a run in the first team,” he reflected.

“There were more opportunities for me at Derby and I think both lots of supporters accepted that, so I didn’t really get any stick for it.”

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The calendar date of this year’s match has special significance in the Elstone household. On 1 August 2011, nine years ago, the young all-rounder was chosen by Notts to be one of the substitute fielders for the England side in the Trent Bridge Test match against India.

Adding his name to a list of similarly memorable cameo appearances, that includes Don Topley and Gary Pratt, Elstone took two vital catches in the deep.

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“Jonathan Trott had injured his shoulder, so I was on the field for most of the match. England were trying a short-ball theory, so I was always out in the deep, either at fine leg or deep square leg,” he recalled.

“I caught Suresh Raina, off Tim Bresnan for the first catch but then spilled Praveen Kumar from Jimmy Anderson’s bowling – it’s funny how many people remind me of that!

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“One over later Harbhajan Singh hit Bresnan high and I just about got there in time, it took a nervy bobble as it hit my hand but I managed to hold on.”

Elstone’s heroics were rightly celebrated but failed to outshine his county teammate Stuart Broad, who picked up a hat-trick earlier in the match.

“It was amazing to be on the field for it,” he said. “It was the first Test hat-trick at Trent Bridge and to be able to celebrate with him in the huddle afterwards was amazing.

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“It’s just great to see how he is still going strong and now has over 500 Test wickets.”

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Elstone, now 30, plays his club cricket for Checkley in the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Premier League but is still involved with the first-class game.

“I work at Edgbaston for Warwickshire as a Commercial Partnership Executive, looking after the club’s sponsors and partners.

“We’re delighted that we’ve been chosen as one of the grounds that the Government have chosen for their pilot scheme in allowing spectators to attend.

“It’s nice to be able to nice to be able to play a real part in getting fans back watching live sport.”