Big few days ahead for Chris Read and Notts

Chris Read. Picture by Mark Fear.
Chris Read. Picture by Mark Fear.

Nottinghamshire’s Chris Read is hoping for a successful few days.

As a patron of Bowel Cancer UK he is looking forward to his annual fund-raiser being well supported on Friday evening.

Then, as his county’s longest-serving player, he’s hoping that Notts Outlaws can sort out their quarter final hoodoo and make it through to Finals Day in the NatWest T20 Blast competition.

The Outlaws have qualified for the knock-out stages in six of the last seven seasons but have lost all of their last five quarter final match-ups, all at Trent Bridge.

Three years ago one of those losses was against the Essex Eagles, Monday’s visitors to Nottingham, in the first of this season’s quarter finals.

After sliding to three consecutive defeats in the 50-over format, Notts have been eliminated from the Royal London One-Day Cup.

With their four-day campaign also in danger of running off the rails – they are presently in the Division One relegation zone – the Outlaws need the boost of a place at Finals Day.

“It’s crunch time,” admits Read. “The white ball season culminates now and you either go on and challenge for silverware or it’s the end of your competition. So it’s very important that we perform well on Monday.”

Read, 38 next week, says the county have to look beyond their recent 50-over form and take positives from their winning streak in the Blast. Notts are unbeaten since the beginning of June in the short format, having won eight matches in a row, a county record.

“We’ve got to get over the performances in the last week in the 50 over competition because our T20 form has been absolutely fantastic,” says the veteran gloveman.

Notts’ made sure of topping the North Group with an emphatic win over Leicestershire Foxes, which saw Michael Lumb and Dan Christian blitz their way to half-centuries from 17 balls and 16 balls respectively.

Essex Eagles lost six matches in the qualifying stages and will arrive in Nottingham after finishing fourth in the South Group, so FRead is confident.

“The way the boys played last Friday night against Leicestershire shows that there’s some serious ability knocking around and hopefully we’ll be raring to go again on Monday.”

Most of the Outlaws’ players will have the opportunity to sharpen their skills with a T20 match on Friday evening.

“It’s my annual charity game, the Chris Read XI versus Graeme Swann’s XI and we are raising money for two principle charities, Bowel Cancer UK and the NSPCC,” says Read.

“It’s at Radcliffe on Trent Cricket Club and begins at 5pm. There should be a very entertaining few hours of cricket and there are lots of other activities off the pitch as well.

“Graeme got a first baller last year but I remember he bowled a pretty good over of off spin. It’ll be interesting to see how he is getting on. I’m sure he’s been practicing in the nets with Wilf, his eldest, and trying to get him out.

“I think we lost last year so there’s a little bit of revenge that needs to be taken. When we set the game up it was very much with Bowel Cancer UK in mind.

“As more and more people have got involved, sponsors and people have been added to the list and we have added another charity, the NSPCC, to the list as well.

“Most of the Notts players will be involved so we hope supporters will come along and support it.”

Chris Read XI v Graeme Swann XI will be played at Radcliffe-on-Trent CC on Friday 5 August 2016 from 5pm. Tickets available on the gate, priced £5.

Notts Outlaws play Essex Eagles in the quarter final of the NatWest T20 Blast at Trent Bridge on Monday 8 August 2016, start 6.30pm.