Notts Outlaws can secure qualification for the knock-out phase of this season’s NatWest T20 Blast competition this weekend.
The Outlaws, winners of the Royal London One-Day Cup in July, have recently shown their 20-over pedigree and have moved to the top of the North Group with just three matches remaining in the qualifying phase.
The Outlaws welcome Birmingham Bears to Trent Bridge on Friday evening, before making the trip to New Road on Sunday, where they will oppose Worcestershire Rapids.
In a tightly-contested group, the Outlaws have timed their surge to the top at precisely the right time, a commendable feat considering they were defeated in both of their opening matches in the shortened format.
One of those losses came in the first meeting with Birmingham Bears, at Edgbaston. That evening, Notts’ fast bowler Luke Fletcher was injured when a blow from batsman Sam Hain struck the 28-year old flush on the head, seconds after he had delivered the ball.
Thankfully, Fletcher is recuperating well. Despite having been ruled out of action for the rest of the season, on medical advice, he is looking forward to being at the re-match and catching up with one or two in the Bears’ camp.
“My emotions on Friday will be just the same as normal,” Fletcher revealed. ““It wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was just that it happened against Warwickshire and I really want to thank a few people that were there on the night. Their doctor was amazing and the support from their physio was top drawer, so it would be nice to see them and just say thanks for what they did.
“Sam Hain sent me a message the day after, when I was in hospital, just to see how things were and to show his concern and make sure I was alright, so that was nice – as did a few of the other Warwickshire players as well – so it will be good to catch up with them all and have a chat and say thanks.”
After taking some quiet time off, Fletcher has recently been offering some insight into the game with some local radio commentary stints but he can’t wait for the time that he is given the clearance to resume his playing career, even if it is in the indoor nets at Trent Bridge.
“I’ve got another visit to see the surgeon next week to see what’s happening going forward,” he explained. “I need to know what I can do and what I can’t do, during my rehab and leading into the next few months and then into the winter so it will be good to see what the surgeon says.
“I feel absolutely fine now, I had a couple of groggy days straight after the event but apart from that everything has been ok and I’ve been looked after really well by James Pipe, the Notts physio. He’s been checking up on me regularly. I’ve been told to just take time off for the rest of the season, chill out a little bit and let things settle back to normal.”
(Notts Outlaws face Birmingham Bears at Trent Bridge on Friday evening, 11th August (7pm start) then play Worcestershire Rapids away on Sunday 13th August (2.30pm))