The tale of two Queenslanders
Dave Bracegirdle finds a group of Australians finding their form in England’s second tier
You didn’t have to come from Queensland to play a starring role in this thrilling encounter - but it certainly helped. Riki Wessels, born an hour north of Brisbane in 1985, registered the first double hundred of his career to set up Nottinghamshire’s victory.
His brilliant 202 not out, made from 177 balls and containing 22 fours and seven sixes, turned a desperate situation on its head after the home county had struggled against the wiles of another Queenslander, Steve Magoffin.
The 37-year old from Corinda, a southern suburb of his state capital, took 12 wickets in a losing cause on his previous visit to Trent Bridge in 2015.
Ruled out of Sussex’s championship opener against Kent, Magoffin returned to one of his favourite haunts to reduce the hosts to 88-5 and then 180-7 on the opening day.
By that stage he’d taken 5-51 and given his all. “I’ve been struggling with my knee over the last fortnight,” he said. “I took the last game off to give myself every chance of playing here because we know the Notts team is a very good side and I wanted to be here as it’s a ground I enjoy playing at.
“An hour after lunch, having already put in 18 overs, it kind of got the better of me and was very sore.”
Wessels had just been dropped on 47 when Magoffin left the field but he then took full toll of an inexperienced attack that included a tiring Jofra Archer, plus Stuart Whittingham and debutant Adam Barton, a trio that had a combined first class tally of only 20 appearances between them.
Poor form led to Wessels being dropped for the final four Championship matches of last season and he’s delighted to have bounced back with some form this summer.
He said: “It hurt a bit last year but that’s part of the game – there’s always somebody younger, stronger, fitter coming in and that’s the way it goes.”
Shell-shocked at having let their opponents wriggle off the hook, Sussex’s batsmen were then put to the sword by a ruthless display from Nottinghamshire’s more established bowling quartet of England internationals Stuart Broad and Jake Ball, Australian speedster James Pattinson and the tireless Luke Fletcher.
Pattinson tore the heart of Sussex’s top order in both innings, taking match figures of seven for 55 as Notts completed victory with two full days to spare.
Pointing the way: James Pattinson starred again for Notts as did Riki Wessels, inset