By Neil Fissler
Darren Bicknell admits that the signings of Australians Stuart MacGill and David Hussey were just what Notts needed to help them return to the First Division at the attempt.
Just as in the Eighties when they dominated the county game with Clive Rice and Richard Hadlee it would prove to be two overseas that helped them reach the next level.
With the bat Hussey scored 1,208 runs at 63.57 each while Bicknell himself and Jason Gallian also both passed the 1,000 run mark each.
While with the ball MacGill took 39 wickets, three fewer than their leading wicket taker Paul Franks, and it set Notts up for a charge at the title.
Bicknell said: “After we got relegated we made some changes. We started to assemble a squad of good senior players who knew how to go about their business really.
“The likes of Graeme Swann, Ryan Sidebottom, Greg Smith, myself. But Stuart MacGill was a major catalyst of it all for us.
“He was a match winner who helped players think they could win matches from any position. David Hussey also scored runs. They were both outstanding for us.
“We had a good side in all formats, good batters, good bowlers good solid county pros and some good young exciting players, Kevin Pietersen was knocking around at that stage.
“I think it was his second or third season but he had left at the end of that year and had engineered a move to Hampshire by then.
“He had fallen out of love with us and we had fallen out of love with him. He was on his way out at that time.
“Then we topped it off with a couple of crackajack signings. with MacGill and Hussey being the key.”
Notts had been relegated from the first division in 2003 and returned to the top flight with 252 points, Hampshire finishing in second place with 228 points.
“We always felt that we had a good side, when we got relegated the year before we had a few injuries and a few things hadn’t worked out. That is why we had a poor season,” Bicknell added.
“The plan every year was to be right up there and the signing of those two Australians on top of those senior players already at the club helped.
“We looked at it at the start of the year and felt that we could very well. The year before was soon forgotten. Mick Newell had started to find his feet.
“People were unsure about him when he first started because he was an unheralded player in many respects and after that first year he came to terms with what he needed to do.”
BACK ROW (left-right):
Samit Patel: All rounder who is currently in the UAE with England for their Test series against Pakistan and still plays for Notts.
Garth Clough: Seamer who is now back living in his native Leeds where he works as a PE teacher.
Richard Logan: Seamer is now a director of luxury tour operator Cachét Leisure. Is also the general manager of the KP Foundation.
David Lucas: Seamer who captained Lincolnshire last season which he combined with running his own Nottingham based cleaning company.
Charlie Shreck: Cornish-born fast bowler who is still playing county cricket for Leicestershire.
David Alleyne: Wicketkeeper who is now living in Melbourne, Australia and is running his own coaching business Future Stars.
Paul McMahon: A spinner is now working as a lawyer with Bird & Bird in London whom he has worked for since qualifying in September 2011.
Bilal Shafayat: England Lions batsman who left Hampshire in 2013 and is now running a day care nursery in his native Nottingham.
Anurag Singh: A batsman who represented England at U19 level qualified as a lawyer and is now a director of Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP.
AJ Harris: England A seamer went into coaching with Derbyshire’s 2nd XI where he later became bowling coach and now academy director.
Greg Smith: South African left-arm fast bowler who went into coaching and is now director of cricket at St Alban’s College in his native Pretoria.
Ryan Sidebottom: Former England seamer who helped Yorkshire win the County Championship this season. His father Arnie also played cricket and football for Manchester United.
Kevin Pietersen: The controversial South African-born England batsman has his own foundation and is married to former pop star Jessica Taylor.
Russell Warren: Batsman who also served Northants is an umpire in the Notts PL and is also on the ECB’s list of reserve umpires.
Wayne Noon: Wicketkeeper who captained England at U19 level is Mick Newell’s assistant at Trent Bridge.
Darren Bicknell: Opening batsman brother of Martin is now Oakham School’s cricket professional and a director of Belvoir Castle Cricket Trust.
Paul Franks: England ODI all rounder who announced last month is retirement from first-class cricket but will captain Nottinghamshire’s 2nd XI next season.
Jason Gallian: England opening batsman is now teaching geography at Felsted School in Essex where ended his career. He is also head of cricket.
Mick Newell: Batsman who has been director of cricket at Trent Bridge since 2002 following the departure of Clive Rice.
Stuart MacGill: Former Australian spinner is now involved in social media as chairman of a cricket YouTube channel and director of a company in the wine and spirits industry.
Mark Ealham: England international all-rounder and whose father Alan played for Kent. Is now the cricket professional at Kings School, Canterbury, and is also Kent’s bowling coach.
David Hussey: Australian one-day international is still playing t20 cricket for the Melbourne Stars in his native Victoria.
This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper on Friday October 9, 2015