Nottinghamshire’s cricketers still have work to do if they are to be playing in the top flight of the Specsavers County Championship next season.
Consecutive defeats, by Worcestershire at home and by Northamptonshire away this week, have left the county in a three-team battle for the two promotion spots.
Notts have led the Division Two table all summer, until relinquishing pole position last week, and now face a battle to make sure they return to the top tier next season.
The county’s final match will be against Sussex, beginning at Hove on Monday. A draw, achieved with seven bonus points would guarantee at least second place but they will travel in the belief that they can still secure their third piece of silverware this season.
Head coach Peter Moores admitted his side are still in a battle to go up.
“It’s been a funny division this summer,” he said, soon after Friday’s loss to Northants.
“Three or four sides have dominated. Kent have now fallen away, leaving three of us going for two spots, so we’re focused on what we need to do. We have to get this out of our system pretty fast because the next one comes along on Monday. We know we have some good players and we have to put in one more big performance.”
In an ideal world Notts would already have achieved their goals and would be able to fittingly use their final match of the summer to honour Chris Read, their retiring skipper.
“Sport has never been quite like that,” said Moores. “We go down there with a chance to gain promotion as number one and there’s still the chance to win the trophy, so we’ll go and be focused on what we need to do and give it a go.”
Moores spent the majority of his playing career with Sussex and coached them to two County Championship titles, so knows what his charges can expect on the south coast.
“I’ve still got some great mates down there. There’ll be no love lost on the field, because there never is and there shouldn’t be in a county game, so it is all set fair – it’s a good place to go to finish our season. We have to play well to get the points and get ourselves up.”
The Head Coach concluded by sending a message to the Nottinghamshire supporters.
“I’ve said all along – and said it at the AGM at the start of the season that we can’t guarantee we will win anything. What we will guarantee is we will always put eleven blokes on the field who are up for a challenge. We’ll do that and hopefully it will be enough.”
(Nottinghamshire face Sussex at Hove in the Specsavers County Championship, starting on Monday 25 September 2017 at 10.30am).