The West Indies Are Coming:
Establishing The Sobers Legend

Comment and Analysis | 5th May 2012

Following their maiden Test appearance at Trent Bridge it would be another seven years before the West Indies again toured England and the intervening period had brought mixed success.

New Zealand had twice been defeated on overseas tours and India had been tamed in the Caribbean, whilst defeats – home and away – to Australia had gone some way to clarifying the pecking order in world cricket.

The West Indies had missed a good opportunity to defeat England at home in early 1954. They had gone 2-0 up in the five match series, before Len Hutton’s side came back to level.

"With Alf Valentine falling ill just before the match Sobers was something of a surprise choice to replace him but responded with figures of 4-75 and made scores of 14 not out and 2."

Hutton himself, had played his part in the final match on that tour, becoming the first England captain to score a double hundred in an overseas Test, whilst Trevor Bailey’s 7-34 was equally important in securing the win.
That match, played at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, also saw the West Indies give a Test debut to 17 year old Garfield St Aubrun Sobers of Barbados.  

With Alf Valentine falling ill just before the match Sobers was something of a surprise choice to replace him but responded with figures of 4-75 and made scores of 14 not out and 26, batting at number nine in the order. This was only Sobers’ third first class appearance.

By the time of the 1957 tour of England Sobers was an integral part of the side by right, with John Goddard resuming as captain, after Denis Atkinson had led the side in their previous two series’.

Returning to the ranks, Atkinson got his summer off to the best possible start by taking five wickets in each innings as Worcestershire were easily defeated at New Road.

The next six matches brought wins over Northamptonshire, Oxford University and Essex, with draws achieved against Cambridge University, MCC and Yorkshire.

Only one more fixture remained ahead of the First Test at Edgbaston, a 3-day match at Trent Bridge against Nottinghamshire.

The county side gave a debut to another Atkinson - Thomas, a right-arm medium-fast bowler from Cumberland, who had been playing for the second’s for a couple of seasons.

Neither he, nor most of the home attack – which included Aussie leg spinner Bruce Dooland – could do much on the opening day as the West Indians piled on the runs.

Playing in his first ever match at Trent Bridge Sobers, who had opened the batting, made 219 not out as the tour side declared on 489-3, with Clyde Walcott hitting 115, Everton Weekes 68 and Collie Smith, a powerful 67 not out.

Thanks to half centuries from John Clay, Maurice Hill, Ken Smales and Arthur Jepson, Notts responded with a decent first innings total of their own, in making 420. 

With only time for batting practice on the last day, the West Indies lost Sobers for nought but then witnessed two more top order players get amongst the runs in a stand of 205 for the second wicket.

Nyron Asgarali from Trinidad and Tobago, made 130 not out, whilst Guyana’s Rohan Kanhai – playing as a wicketkeeper-batsman on his first overseas tour, made 95.

25,27,28 May 1957
West Indians 489-3 dec (Sobers 219 not out, Walcott 115) and 298-3 (Asgarali 130 not out)
Notts 420 (Clay 67, Smales 63 not out)
Match Drawn

Match Tickets On Sale Now

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).

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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).

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Read our exclusive West Indies Edition of Covered Magazine here

International Hospitality At Trent Bridge
In 2012, England will play three matches at Trent Bridge and our hospitality guests will have the best seats in the house. Limited capacity remains for all days of play with shared facilities and private boxes ready to host you and your guests. Click here for details and pricing. 

Clarke's Meadow & The Calypso Kings
Clarke’s Meadow & The Calypso Kings, the new hardback from Dave Bracegirdle, looks at how the West Indies have managed to keep intact a proud record of never having lost a first class fixtureat Trent Bridge and profiles the players who have enjoyed themselves as members of the county club.

Probably more than any other ground outside the Caribbean, Trent Bridge has become synonymous with West Indian success and a long unbeaten run in first class matches, a statistic that will next be tested during the Investec Test Match in May.
 
Click here to order your copy. 

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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