General News | 23rd April 2008
Something in common
From its inception in 1827, the fixture between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge was considered one of the red-letter days in the cricket calendar. The man who organised the first match also organised the first University Boat race.
The initial cricket match took place at Lord’s in 1827. The second in Oxford in 1829 and this latter contest was the first with a Notts cricketer in the Oxford Eleven, William Musters made the highest score in Oxford’s first innings. He did not play for the county until 1841 (see Notts Cricketers Part 3).
Philip Williams played in four University matches, 1844-47, but achieved only modest figures. His sole games for Notts were in 1845 (see Notts Cricketers Part 3). Edward Bateman appeared against Cambridge in 1854 and l855, but he only played once for the County and then in emergency.
There was a gap of nearly 50 years before another Notts player received a blue from Oxford. Trevor Branston made his debut for Notts in 1903, then went up to Oxford and appeared against Cambridge three times. A member of the Notts 1907 Champions side, he played very little afterwards due to business commitments, but was a talented all-rounder. Between the two World Wars, no Notts players turned out for Oxford at Lord’s, then in 1958, Andy Corran, a fast bowler from Gresham’s, was awarded his blue. He was appointed Notts captain in 1962, but was not a success as a leader, though his bowling proved very useful to the county.
Mark Crawley played for Oxford from 1987 to 1990. He led Oxford in 1989 and played 36 games for Notts as a batsman in 1991 and 1992. Jason Gallian captained Oxford to a nine wicket victory in the 1993 University game, Gallian hit 115. Mark Wagh led Oxford in 1997 and scored 82 and 47, though the match was drawn.
Paul McMahon hit 99 and took seven wickets, leading Oxford to an innings victory in the 2004 match.
It is a sign of the times that prior to 1939, players sometimes could not get into the Oxford team, but managed to obtain, at least a fleeting, place in the county side.
V.H.Cartwright, G.S.Foljambe, H.A.Hodges, G.N.B. Huskinson, P.J.S.Pearson-Gregory and Lord Stanhope all played first-class matches for Notts, but not a single first-class match for Oxford, never mind obtaining their blue!