Club historian Peter Wynne-Thomas looksback on past Championship meetings between Notts and Middlesex at Lord's.
Memories of last summer's match are stillremembered, since Notts achieved an overwhelming victory and several playerscreated individual records. Will Smith (141) and Samit Patel (156) both mademaiden Championship hundreds. Charlie Shreck produced his first Championshiphat-trick and the Notts total of 642-9 declared was the county's highest everon the historic ground.
In fairness to Middlesex, I'd better addthat Nick Compton carried his bat right through the Middlesex's first innings.The press were very keen to point out that his illustrous grandad, Denis, neverperformed that feat in spite of playing no less than 839 first-class innings.That, on the face of it sounds quite astonishing, but those old enough toremember Denis Compton, will also recall that if he ever opened the innings forMiddlesex or England it was exceedingly rare - I've not the time to check out,the occasions that it happened, but I can assure younger readers I never sawhim do so.
Notts played first-class cricket at Lord'sfor some years before they opposed Middlesex there. Middlesex were not foundeduntil 1864 and it was in 1843 that Notts first arrived in London to play M.C.C.This series of games was a regular fixture until 1920 and for many years theopening Notts game of the season - not quite as important as it might sound,since M.C.C. fielded a weakish side and Notts took the opportunity to try outsome young players. Very similar in fact to the current fashion of an earlyseason game against the likes of Durham UCCE.
The formation of the Middlesex Club did notimmediately result in county fixtures at Lord's. Middlesex in fact had fourhome grounds before an agreement was reached with M.C.C. to allow the county toplay their home games there. Notts first met Middlesex on the ground next tothe Cattle Market in Islington. That was in 1866, then for three years, thecounties met at Prince's. Like Lord's, Prince's had nothing to do withnobility, but was just the surname of the founder. The ground was in Chelsea,roughly where Cadogan Square is now situated.
At last, in 1877 Notts and Middlesex meteach other at Lord's. There have up to today been 98 matches at Lord's; Nottshave won 27, Middlesex have won 41 and 30 have ended as draws. These numbers donot include the proposed matches of 1979 and 1987, both were completewash-outs.
Prior to the victory by Notts last year,there were two boring draws. In 2003 the Notts second innings was merelyfilling in time and Middlesex used 10 bowlers (it would have been 11, but themissing man was injured!) In 2005 the only point of the Middlesex secondinnings was to improve Notts bowling rate – Notts managed 25 overs in 50minutes.
This waste of time contrasts with the 1930game, when Arthur Carr was Notts captain and apparently, Carr decided thecontinuation was so pointless and the weather so cheerless, that he led Nottsoff the field, although 20 minutes 'playing time' remained. Carr was a one-off.In 1932, at the start of the second day, Carr declared Notts innings closed at86-7. The press commented: "What purpose he considered would be served bytaking such a course, it is impossible to understand."
Two years later, Notts were entangled inthe 'bodyline' controversy. During the Middlesex game, Len Muncer was seriouslyinjured by a ball from Bill Voce and Middlesex officially complained about theNotts tactics. Middlesex threatened to cancel future games against Notts unlessthe tactics were changed. This in the winter of 1934-35 led to Notts sackingCarr as captain, but that's another story.
Only once since World War One have Nottsgained successive victories at Lord's and both were due to Richard Hadlee. In1984, Hadlee went in to bat with the Notts total 17-4. He hit 210, the nexthighest Notts batsman made 36 and, due entirely to his efforts, Notts gainedmaximum batting points and went on to win in two days.
The next season it was Hadlee's bowlingthat proved decisive. Notts had a 44-run deficit on first innings and Middlesexin the person of Barlow threatened to bat Notts completely out of the game. Anastonishing caught and bowled by Hadlee removed the said Barlow; Hadlee endedwith figures of 7-34 and Notts won on the third afternoon by five wickets,Hadlee being at the crease when victory came.
There was also a gentlemanly action duringthe Notts first innings. Randall was judged not out by the umpire on an appealfor caught behind, but disagreeing with the official, he walked off. BillyFlint had taken similar action in the 1927 encounter. He trod on his wicket,but neither umpire noticed and he was judged not out - Flint, better known onthe soccer field, gave away his wicket next ball.
To finish on a cheerful note. The 1892 game washeading for a draw, With 30 minutes play left, Middlesex had five wickets down.Dixon, the Notts captain, asked the burly wicketkeeper, Mordecai Sherwin totake off his pads and bowl. Sherwin had scarcely ever bowled in his longcareer. The spectators thought it was a joke and Notts were merely goingthrough the motions. Sherwin returned an analysis of 7-4-9-2 and Notts won withfour minutes to spare.