THE BEST cricketer from the Dispatch district at present has earned himself a prized three-year contract with Notts CCC.
Giant fast-bowler Luke Fletcher (pictured), who hails from Bulwell, has been rewarded for his most successful season yet at Trent Bridge.
The 6’6” Fletcher has taken 29 wickets in Division One of the County Championship, often being entrusted with the new ball.
And he was also hugely influential in Notts topping their qualifying group and reaching the quarter-finals of the Friends Life Twenty20 Cup. He took 26 wickets at an impressive strike rate of 19 and even won one man-of-the-match award in a game shown live on Sky Sports TV.
Says Notts’s director of cricket Mick Newell: “We have seen a steady improvement from Luke ever since he broke into the team. Now he needs to make the transition to become a senior player in our ranks.
“He has played very well this season and caused problems for a number of accomplished batsmen. He has proved effective with the new ball and has earned this contract on merit.”
The only blemish on Fletcher’s season came in May when he was mysteriously suspended by Notts for two weeks for a breach of discipline.
But such has been his impact since then that he attracted the interest of other counties, who wanted to sign him.
“I was always keen to stay with Notts and I am pleased to have the security of a three-year contract,” said Fletcher.
“There are a lot of talented players here and we want to get back in the hunt for trophies.”
Fletcher, who is 23 later this month, learned his trade at Papplewick and Linby, rising through their youth ranks. He first represented the county at the age of 14 and made his debut for Notts’s second eleven in 2006.
Success with England Under-19s waa followed by his first-class debut for Notts in 2008. He took 29 Championship wickets the following summer, earning him a Category C contract with the England performance squad.
After a barren year in 2010, he worked hard on his fitness and enjoyed a productive winter in Australia, developing his game.
Fletcher has also returned to Papplewick this season as one of their club professionals after a spell with Clifton Village, whom he helped win the Notts Premier League title.
However his appearances have been restricted because of his regular role at Trent Bridge.