West Indies At Trent Bridge:
An Unbeaten Record

Comment and Analysis | 8th December 2011

Since the first visit to these shores of a truly representative Caribbean side, back in 1906, the West Indies have managed to remain undefeated in first class matches at Trent Bridge.

The ground that was transformed from a meadow by William Clarke back in the 19th century has become a home-from-home for generations of West Indian cricketers. Whether representing the island group, against either England or Nottinghamshire, some of the elite players of the game have shone on their appearances there, over the years.

Additionally, the county side have been extremely fortunate that some of their most successful and best-loved overseas players have been West Indian, from the likes of Carlton Forbes and Deryck Murray, through the Sobers era, to the modern game and the 2011 appearances of Darren Bravo in the Notts line-up.

Over the course of the next few weeks, by way of setting the scene for their impending arrival, we'll be looking back at previous West Indian teams and players who have helped forge their impressive record in Nottingham.

"The West Indies have managed to remain undefeated in first class matches at Trent Bridge."

The very first cricket side to represent the entire West Indies region made a tour of the British Isles during the summer of 1906.

Captained by Harold Austin, from Barbados, the tourists played thirteen first class matches, all of them scheduled to last for 3 days.

Alien conditions certainly counted against them early on in the tour, as the opening seven matches were decisively lost, five of them to county sides and one to a WG Grace’s X1, with ‘the good doctor’ helping himself to eight wickets in the match.

In what was seen as the showpiece match of the tour they also went down by 6 wickets at Lord’s to an MCC side, whose own skipper Pelham Warner had himself been born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

Performances and results picked up after that. Of the remaining seven fixtures, only one was lost, whilst there were three victories (over Scotland, Yorkshire and Northants), plus two draws – including the game at Trent Bridge.

Beginning on 13 August 1906, Nottinghamshire made 254-5 on a rain-interrupted opening day. Having elected to bat first, the county side were indebted to Stapleford-born Wilfred Payton who made 113, his maiden century.

The West Indian side included wicketkeeper –batsman Lebrun Constantine, father of Learie – who would later make 18 Test appearances – but neither he, nor his team-mates, fared well with the bat as Thomas ‘Topsy’ Wass and Albert Hallam took nine wickets between them on the second day, skittling the West Indian X1 for 149, in response to 296.

Second time around Notts could only reach 180, thanks largely to a splendid innings of 112 from John Gunn, meaning the tourists were set a victory target of 328.

George Challenor, an 18 year old opening batsman from Barbados who had only played in only two first class matches prior to being selected for the tour, made 108 –his maiden first class century – as the game finished in a draw with his side closing on 292-7

Twenty two years later, in June 1928, Challenor – a week before his fortieth birthday – played in the West Indies’ very first Test match (against England at Lord’s) and was dismissed by Nottinghamshire’s Harold Larwood.

13,14,15 August 1906
Nottinghamshire 296 (Payton 113) and 180 (J Gunn 112)
West Indians 149 and 292-7 (Challenor 108)
Match Drawn

The full details of the match can be found here.

Despite the MCC sending tour parties to the Caribbean in 1910-11 and 1912-13, a return visit to these shores wasn’t made by the West Indies until 1923, fully seventeen years since their previous visit.
In the next part of ‘The West Indies Are Coming’ we’ll look a little closer at that second tour and also how the West Indies began to prepare themselves for their entry into Test cricket.

England v West Indies - Investec Test at Trent Bridge

England face West Indies in an Investec Test Match at Trent Bridge from Friday 25 May - Tuesday 29 May. Adult tickets cost £35-£50, all under 21s tickets cost £20, under 16s tickets cost £10 (£8 for day four) and family tickets cost £80 (2 adults, 2 under 16s).

Click here to buy tickets using our secure online payment system or call 0844 8118711.

England v West Indies - Natwest International Twenty20 at Trent Bridge

England face West Indies in a Natwest International Twenty20 at Trent Bridge at 2.30pm on Sunday 24 June. Adult tickets cost £25-£45, all under 21s tickets cost £20, under 16s tickets cost £10 and family tickets cost £60 (2 adults, 2 under 16s).

Click here to buy tickets using our secure online payment system or call 0844 8118711.

To book hospitality for either fixture, call 0844 8118712.

Dave Bracegirdle is a broadcaster, sports writer and author who provides ball-by-ball commentary of all of Nottinghamshire's LV= County Championship matches.

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