Sunday 15th August 2021 – The Hundred at Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Having experienced the Hundred at Lords and The Oval I’d anticipated that a Sunday evening game at Trent Bridge, one of the livelier cricket grounds in England to be piss-head central. The ground is just a short walk from the city centre, with decent sized pubs on three sides, a sell out crowd and the home side on the verge of a spot in the Eliminator, it promised to be an interesting affair.
In truth it was by far and away the best experience of the competition so far off the pitch, with fan engagement delivered on all levels. For a start, plenty of food and drink options, located in wide concourses that don’t cause bottlenecks, decent music delivered by a DJ who didn’t take himself seriously and the roving camera crews picking their moments for crowd interaction. Heck, we even had a proposal on the big screen (she said yes we think – at least she was still sitting next to her boyfriend 5 minutes later).
We’d arrived just as the Manchester Originals had completed a thumping nine wickets win in the Women’s game. Ok, so we took our seats to watch that having first enjoyed some toasted cheese sandwiches and a gin and tonic from a converted van (imagine getting stuck in a traffic jam next to that!). Instead of trooping off to the dressing room, the Rockets players came across to the stands and chatted with family and friends for the best part of an hour whilst the Men’s teams warmed up.
We were all ready for the main event, then at 6:57pm it started to rain. To be fair, the clouds to the north over the city centre looked like something from Independence Day so it wasn’t a big surprise. The covers came on and we prepared ourselves for an Oval style delay, but the umpires were having none of that faff and gave the thumbs up at 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start, with no loss of balls, always a good result on a night out.
The Originals won the toss and elected to bat, knowing that they were only playing for pride, and to potentially deny the Rockets a spot in the Eliminator (or even the Final). The players would be heading back to their counties on Monday to pick up the damaged pieced of the season but first they had an opportunity to go out with a bang.
They started well with both Salt and Clarke hitting early boundaries, although the Sussex opener hardly saw any of the strike. On.y facing 13 balls before he departed with 41 bowled. Munro had taken the score onto 70 by then and was the stable influence on a rapidly unraveling innings, as Ackermann, Lammonby, Braithwaite and Douthwaite made a total of 8 runs between themselves in 19 balls.
Rashid Khan’s 3-16 in his 20 balls was the star bowling turn, whilst Munro’s 45 lighting up an average innings of 135-8.
A fifty run opening partnership put the Rockets in track for victory, with Malan’s patient 52 anchoring the innings andPatel’s 35 off just 23 balls guiding them home with five balls to spare and 7 wickets still intact. In fact, to underline the ease by which the home side reached the total, they only hit two sixes, the first of which didn’t come until the 87th ball of their innings.
So the Rockets thrust on whilst the Originals go back to the start. A good advert for The Hundred on a day when England regained their test match mojo at Lords. But could that form extend to my visit to the home of cricket on Monday?