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Nottinghamshire promotion completes a satisfying Read send-off

Sussex 565 (Jordan 147, Burgess 146, Archer 72) and 229 for 7 dec (Wells 103, Carter 4-106) drew with Nottinghamshire 477 (Root 132, Read 124)

It took just one single season. Nottinghamshire, relegated from Division One in 2016, have won promotion in 2017. Having led Division Two with distinction, a trail-blazing start to see them set the typical that, for some time, few could match, they put up with second-place. The treble might not attended to pass, but nothing of what Nottinghamshire did in all types of the overall game, winning the Royal London Cup and the NatWest T20 Blast, includes a whiff of failure about any of it. Essex may have won the County Championship, but Nottinghamshire were the very best team in the united kingdom. A significant feat for Peter Moores’ first season in control.

Only recently has there been reason to doubt that. They arrived to this final match against Sussex needing 12 points to secure promotion, and 12 was just what they got. A wayward performance with the ball, saw them concede 565 in Sussex’s first innings, after reducing the hosts to 107 for 5. Then, requiring all five batting points to adequately supplement points for a draw, they crashed to 65 for 5. Chris Read, for just one last time, dragged his side out of a hole and, eventually, to the promised land.

A delayed 1pm start ended with handshakes at 4.30pm: Sussex not asking Nottinghamshire to bat, instead biding their time as Luke Wells completed an impressive hundred. Upon handshakes, the bails were flicked off on Read’s career.

He was hugged by all, walking by way of a guard of honour on the field before a more impressive one, reinforced by spectators and the complete Sussex squad, greeted him off or more the stairs towards the Nottinghamshire dressing room. He told BBC Nottingham that it had been only once he walked off and saw the ovation in his honour that it dawned on him. And us, too. English cricket will continue, but it can do so without Read.

Read’s quality and longevity is seen in his numbers: 348 high grade appearances – 15 which Test matches for England – alongside 333 List A and 119 T20s matches. An initial class tally of 16,237 runs from 525 innings, 25 hundreds and a batting average of 37.07 underlines his class while watching stumps, transitioning from a time of wicketkeeping as an expert skill, to provide day, if they must pull their weight with the bat. His 124 in the initial innings hauled Nottinghamshire towards the bonus points haul that confirmed their promotion. Naturally, it had been behind the stumps where he set the typical that lots of will desire to but few can follow.

Read collected 1580 dismissals in every forms , with 1101 dismissals in the initial class game – the 1101st of these, today, when he cleared out three fielders to have a popped-up catch from Michael Burgess for Sussex’s seventh second-innings wicket. He could be apt to be the final English wicketkeeper to dominate one thousand catches. Against Derbyshire in the beginning of August, he beat Thomas Oates’ record for probably the most dismissals for a Nottinghamshire wicketkeeper. That now stands at 982 – 938 catches and 44 stumpings.

There is one quirk which could have already been rectified as he took to the field after tea going back time. Read does not have any wicket – first-class, one-day or T20 – to his name. He’s got bowled 16-overs worth in first-class cricket. He was egged on by a few of his Nottinghamshire team-mates to create himself to bowl and nab a maiden wicket on his final bow. However, Moores, his head coach, a former wicketkeeper himself, had some sage advice: “You’ve kept wicket for 20-years and that is the method that you should walk off – together with your pads on.”

Typically for Read, it isn’t the non-public milestones or accolades he’ll miss. He ran his hands through his hair several times as he walked from the center or more the Pavilion steps, consuming the applause, cheers and every last moment. He even needed to be reminded to carry to a frame that Sussex had designed for him to commemorate his last first-class game.

“I’ll skip the wonderful friends I’ve made in the overall game,” he said. “Not merely at Trent Bridge however in the opposition too. I’ll miss my little disorganised corner of the dressing room and sharing a beer afterwards and celebrate a win or chew the fat whether it’s gone wrong.

“Attempting to maintain the degree of performance you anticipate of yourself gets harder and harder, that is why I have made a decision to retire. Personally i think that my performance levels are just going to fall off but Let me think I venture out maybe not at the very top but not too much off. It has been a satisfying last day of my career.”

Nottinghamshire did the last section of this the hard way. The Division Two title was all theirs until T20 Blast Finals Day, once the second-part of a what looked a nailed-on treble was secured.

They took their foot off the gas and, first, lost their unbeaten record against Worcestershire. Then, they lost their claim to first-place with defeat to Northamptonshire. Both victors getting into the ultimate round of matches seeking to sneak the Division Two trophy and promotion respectively.

However well they played in this match, once the sentiments of promotion and Read’s retirement die down – and it’ll be considered a while yet – they need to count themselves very fortunate. Had Northamptonshire not let their over rate slide in the match at Trent Bridge and incurred a five-point penalty, Nottinghamshire, taking second-place by way of a single point, wouldn’t normally be welcoming Division One cricket to Trent Bridge in 2018.

The ultimate throes of the Championship season at Hove were a mixed bag. Wells produced a sparkling fourth Championship century of the growing season to complete 2017 along with his best first-class haul in a twelve months. His 103 – his hundred came off 97 balls – saw him lead Division Two with 1292 Championship runs. Only Surrey’s retiring great Kumar Sangakkara, with an extraordinary 1491 in Division One, has more in your competition.

Wells belted four sixes in his innings, all off offspinner Matt Carter, all straight and true down the bottom, far beyond the sight screen and the deckchairs at the Cromwell Road End. When he was dismissed, Carter go about bettering his figures, as Sussex’s batsmen came in, slogged several and then continued their way. The young off-spinner finished with figures of four for 106 from just 17 overs.

With Division One status confirmed, Nottinghamshire can start recruiting before next season. During the last two years, they will have lost several key first-team players, such as for example James Taylor and Michael Lumb, and today Read. While Paul Coughlin is joining the club, they missed from Keaton Jennings, who opted to become listed on Lancashire. Further deals are increasingly being done behind the scenes.

In the short-term, it really is straight back around Nottingham because the festivities begin on the highway before a player’s do on Saturday. They drink to promotion and, for just one last time, they’ll drink to Chris Read.

As Read’s last post-match interview as captain and cricketer wound down, he offered an ideal summation for Nottinghamshire’s 2017 and his illustrious career: “It exercised well in the long run.”

Vithushan Ehantharajah is really a sportswriter for ESPNcricinfo, the Guardian, All Out Cricket and Yahoo Sport

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