Recent Match Report – Essex vs Notts Group 1 2021


Nottinghamshire 188 for 4 (Mullaney 63*, Hameed 49, Snater 3-54) lead Essex 99 (Browne 53, Fletcher 6-24) by 89 runs

If you had to nominate a player who exemplifies the beating heart of county cricket, Luke Fletcher would be high up the list. That heart has rarely pumped as merrily as it did against the champions, Essex, as he turned in the most successful shift of his career.

It was a grand day for Fletcher, a day when this stalwart Nottinghamshire servant got a bit of a sweat on. Presented by a cloudy day and a green Trent Bridge surface, he bowled with exemplary accuracy and skill, moved the ball both ways in the air and off the pitch and collected six for 24, the first six-for of his career.

Conditions were in his favour. According to a “colour expert”, Sage Green harnesses the calming energy inherent in green, but anchors it with earthiness and depth. Not when Fletcher is bowling on it, it doesn’t. By the end of Essex’s innings, Sage Green was not remotely calming. What’s more, it had been combined with Desire, one of the pinker, and lesser-known red tints, but suitably conveying not just Fletcher’s colour as the overs totted up, but his wholehearted commitment to the cause.

He rounded things off with a triple-wicket maiden – and came close to a hat-trick in a four-wicket maiden, only to stifle his appeal against the last man, Jamie Porter. As Porter took a while to appear, the Essex dressing room presumably a chaotic picture of discarded pads, Fletcher had chatted contentedly to the umpires, a convivial guy in a largely convivial competition.

It is too early to predict a shock result with confidence, but Nottinghamshire, who ended a winless Championship run of 1,043 days last week by thrashing their East Midlands rivals, Derbyshire, are perfectly positioned to follow it up with an even more startling win. They will begin the second day on 188 for 4, a lead of 89, and threaten to throw Group One wide open.