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Nottinghamshire relieved to find Franks response

Lincolnshire hit their highest total against a first class county to set up a thrilling match with Nottinghamshire in the third round Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy match at the Lindum.

But at the close it was Notts who went through to meet Leicestershire in the next round.

Having lost the toss and been invited to bat, Mark Fell set the pace with an excellent innings. Fell's opening partner Shane Deitz went for a duck, but Matt Dowman joined his captain for a stand of 65 and when Dowman was caught and bowled by Paul Franks for 29, Jonathan Trower continued the good work in a partnership of 49.

Trower danced down the pitch once too often to spinner Steve Randall and was stumped by Chris Read for 17 to make it 118 for three, but Paul Pollard also supported his captain well until, with the score on 159, Fell misjudged a ball from Uzman Afzaal and was bowled for 77.

This came off 90 balls and included nine fours and one six - the shot which brought up Fell's half century.

Pollard followed shortly afterwards, bowled by Steve Elworthy for 16 and Oliver Burford was out for one, sweeping the ball on to his own stumps, again off Afzaal. But with 10 overs to go, James Clarke and Bob Chapman launched a determined onslaught on the Notts bowlers and by the time Clarke was out at the start of the final over for 53 - which came off 56 balls with four fours and two sixes - this partnership had put on 97.

At the close, Chapman had scored an unbeaten 53 off 44 balls, in which he hit six fours and two sixes, and Lincs were 279 for seven, Afzaal the pick of the Notts bowling with two for 33 off nine overs.

Guy Welton and Darren Bicknell came out to open for Notts and 16 runs came off the first two overs from Eliot Wilson and David Christmas. But then both bowled a maiden and after five overs Notts were 23 for no wicket. Both openers looked comfortable until, with 58 on the board, Welton was caught by Chapman off Jonathan Davies. This signalled a purple patch for the former Cleethorpes bowler whose next nine balls brought two more wickets and only three runs.

Davies caught and bowled Bicknell for 33 then trapped Jason Gallian lbw to leave Notts on 78 for three with 16 overs gone. Afzaal and Read steadied the innings with a partnership of 40 before Read was lbw Dowman for 13 and with only seven runs added, Dowman had his second wicket as Billy Shafayat was caught by Pollard.

Notts were now 125 for five with half their overs gone, putting Lincs - who fielding had also been far superior to their first class opposition - in a commanding position. But Franks had arrived at the crease and by the time Pollard took his second catch, this time off Christmas, to dismiss Afzaal for 71, Notts had reached 210.

Afzaal faced 81 balls and hit seven fours and one six, but Franks was to prove his equal and he and Gareth Clough, in the team as a late replacement, chipped away at the total required.

With 10 overs to go, the run rate was still almost nine an over and with six to go had risen to just over nine. But Franks started the 46th over with a six and continued to score freely until, with three overs to go, only 19 was needed. The next over went for 16 and Notts claimed victory off the first ball of the 49th, Franks hitting a four to take his score to 84 off only 70 balls. Franks hit seven fours and three sixes and was well supported by Clough who finished unbeaten on 27, Davies bowling nine overs and taking three for 40 for Lincs while Dowman claimed two for 46 off 10.

Franks' innings earned him the C&G man of the match award.