Fletcher keeps Notts' chins up
Warwickshire 298 and 271 (Maddy 65, Evans 63, Fletcher 5-52) lead Nottinghamshire 359 by 210 runs
Luke Fletcher bowled Nottinghamshire into a position from which they could, if the weather is kind to them, go on to win tomorrow.
It's impossible not to like Fletcher. He's a large unit, 6 feet and 6 inches, and not very mobile in the field. He's also a local boy, born in Nottingham. Every time he puts a hand on the ball in the field he gets a cheer. But for all his apparent cumbersomeness, he's Nottinghamshire's top wicket-taker this season, and today took the five scalps that give Nottinghamshire the glimpse of a victory which would probably secure their place in Division One of the County Championship.
The accuracy of Fletcher's bowling can be seen in the way he took his wickets today: they were all bowled, lbw or nicked behind. He nags away on a good length, and occasionally shakes up the batsman with a fast short one.
Speaking at the end of the day Fletcher was downbeat. "The season's going well personally", he said, "but as a side it's not so good. It doesn't really feel as good as it could do"
Nottinghamshire spent the entire day in the field, finally seeing off Warwickshire in the final over of the day, leaving the home side 211 to win on a final day which is threatened by a menacing weather forecast.
Chris Read is an admirable cricketer. He both keeps wicket and captains, both of which require maximum concentration. He's taken six catches in the match while making judicious decisions about his bowling attack. He has, in David Hussey, an excellent lieutenant. Hussey, fielding at square leg and point, can often be seen making subtle changes to the field, and having a word in his captain's ear.
The mainstays of the Warwickshire innings were Laurie Evans and Darren Maddy, who both went past 60. Maddy batted with a runner having pulled a calf muscle while fielding. Evans shared valuable partnerships with Ateeq Javid and Chris Woakes, both of whom regained some self-esteem after, for different reasons, being embarrassed in the first innings. Evans was eventually dismissed when he fended off a short ball from Harry Gurney with one hand off the bat to short leg. The catcher was James Taylor, who has been parachuted into the Nottinghamshire side after being released by England, at the expense of Riki Wessels.
Darren Maddy spent over three hours patiently accumulating runs before Fletcher nipped one in to him and trapped him lbw. Although hampered by his calf injury, Maddy was severe on anything loose and accumulated eight boundaries. There were useful contributions from Steffan Piolet, Keith Barker and Jeetan Patel, but if the weather forecast turns out to be inaccurate Nottinghamshire must fancy their chances.