(Photo: Getty Images)
By Bruce Talbot
Chris Read believes Nottinghamshire can be a force in Division One next season after producing another of his famous rescue acts to help them secure top-flight status.
Notts were staring at another season in the second division when they slumped to 65-5 halfway through their game against Sussex, who had made 565.
But in his 349th and final match before retiring, the 39-year-old scored his 26th first-class hundred as Notts secured the draw which sealed promotion.
At the start of the season Notts swept all before them when Read could call upon a bowling attack of James Pattinson, Stuart Broad, Jake Ball and Luke Fletcher.
But they stumbled towards the finishing line after losing to promotion rivals Worcestershire and Northamptonshire before Read dug them out of a hole at Hove.
Notts have already signed Durham all-rounder Paul Coughlin and head coach Peter Moores will begin the process of adding to the squad next week. But Read has no doubt their strongest side can compete in the top flight.
“Over the last two or three weeks when we have been down to a very small squad of 13 players it has been a struggle against the top teams like Worcestershire, Northants and even Sussex this week,” said Read.
“It’s been great to be able to play guys like Matt Carter, Billy Root and Tom Moores but obviously they will find it tougher in Division One. It’s a real balancing act to develop these guys to secure the long-term future of Nottinghamshire and try to be at the right end of Division One.
“At the start of this season Harry Gurney, who is an international bowler, wasn’t getting a game so you’d like to think that our attack would be pretty tasty in Division One.
“The question for (director of cricket) Mick Newell and Peter Moores is how often we can get that team on the park and what we might need to compete in the top division.”
There have been suggestions that the gap between the two divisions has narrowed this season and with two Test-match ground counties going down Read expects the battle to join Notts next season will be just as intense.
“Has the gap narrowed? I’m not sure it has. This was our first season for a number of years in Division Two and there are some strong teams and next year, looking at who is coming down, it won’t be any different.
“All the time two teams out of eight come down there are going to be some strong sides at the top end of the second division. At the other end of the spectrum maybe there are always going to be teams at the bottom of Division Two who struggle for a variety of reasons.”