Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club’s director of cricket Alex Newell has deemed the team’s relegation to England’s second tier of County Cricket “embarrassing”.

The Trent Bridge club were demoted from the County Championship after a dire season which only saw Newell’s side earn one victory during the campaign. They learned their fate in their penultimate match of the season against then title-chasing Middlesex in early September who eventually won the County Championship by four points.

Newell, who will hand first-team coaching duties to former England coach Peter Moores at the end of the season, said: “It’s about the embarrassment of getting relegated. Financially it doesn’t make a huge difference. It is more about the impact it has on the ego of the players and the impact on the supporters who are used to seeing Division One cricket”.

Newell added, “We are proud club; we have been in Division One for a long time and it’s 10 years since I stood here and had to explain away a relegation.”

Their last game, a dead rubber against Somerset, also ended in a defeat. Set 541 to win, relegated Notts were bowled out for 215 to lose by 325 runs.

It seems strange to think that a cricket club with the history and pedigree of Notts could be relegated. The stomping ground of England internationals such as Alex Hales, Stuart Broad and Jake Ball has always had a buzz on match days, produced excellent cricketers and is a real heartland of English cricket – the County Championship certainly will not be the same without it.

It was a more positive picture however in the T20 Blast this season as Nottinghamshire Outlaws reached the semi-finals. Northamptonshire agonisingly won by eight runs in that match but Notts will be pleased with a last four finish after beating the likes of Leicestershire and Essex along the way.

Aside from the poor showing in the county league there are individuals that have thrived this season. Jake Ball closed the Specsavers County Championship season with 49 wickets, in 11 matches, at an average of 23, and made his Test debut for England against Pakistan at Lord’s. Ball has also been included in England’s forthcoming tour of Bangladesh. Batsman Greg Smith has also signed a new contract at Trent Bridge. The 27-year-old has contributed a number of match-defining performances in white-ball cricket during the 2016 campaign, including a half-century in the NatWest T20 Blast Quarter Final victory over Essex.

Nevertheless, the County Championship certainly won’t be the same without Nottinghamshire in it. Let us hope they have what it takes next season to claw their way back to where they belong in the top division.

Joe Tanner

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