Notts Outlaws head to the north of the county this weekend for what is becoming one of the most popular days in their calendar, the annual trip to play at Welbeck.
The Outlaws will defend their unbeaten record on the ground when they host Leicestershire in the group stages of the Royal London One-Day Cup competition.
Two years ago the club decided to take pressure away from the busy Trent Bridge square and introduce top flight cricket to another part of Nottinghamshire. Notts have pulled off convincing wins over Warwickshire and Derbyshire at Welbeck and were denied the chance of a perfect record when rain wiped out their match there against Glamorgan in 2015.
Riki Wessels has played a starring role in the two victories, scoring an unbeaten 85 against the Bears and followed it with a match-winning knock of 114 last year against the Falcons.
The 31-year old admits that he’s looking forward to returning to Welbeck again.
“It’s been quite a generous ground to me over the last two years, so it will be nice to get back there again,” he reflects. “Hopefully that sort of form will continue on Sunday.”
Wessels says that it’s nice to return and continue the process that is quickly making Welbeck into a home from home for the players.
“It’s strange having a home ground that we don’t actually train on regularly or become familiar with the conditions, like we do at Trent Bridge but it’s nice to have a strong support base and perhaps by going there we are introducing more people to the club and hopefully they’ll decide to come and see us play at Trent Bridge as well.”
The decision to play a home match away from the county headquarters could have backfired but Wessels reveals things couldn’t have gone any better.
“I’d pretty much got no expectations about the ground when we first went there. My mind was clear so it was nice to get runs and obviously to win a couple of matches there has made the experience even better.”
With Jake Ball away on England duty, Wessels has a smile on his face when he questions whether the attendance will be down this year.
“It’s Jake’s home club and I’m sure he sorts out plenty of complimentary tickets to get all of his family and friends there!”
Notts can afford no more slip-ups if they are to achieve their goal of qualifying for the knock-out stages and Wessels says this coming weekend will be hugely significant in their chances of qualifying.
“It’s sort of crunch time in the competition now, we need to kick on and start winning games if we want to be involved at the back end of the tournament. Leicester aren’t to be under-estimated so we’ll have to come out firing.”