The 1860s saw three new major County Cricket Clubs formed and all three immediately were recognised by the press as ‘first-class’ – Yorkshire in 1863, Middlesex in 1864 and Lancashire in 1865. The result was that having played only four matches in 1863, Notts played seven in 1864 and again in 1865.
In 1866 and 1867 however a great cricketing row broke out between the Northern professionals and the authorities at both The Oval and Lord’s. From the Nottinghamshire viewpoint, it meant that fixtures between Notts and Surrey were abandoned – Middlesex in those days had their home ground next to the Cattle Market in Islington and therefore Notts opposed Middlesex in place for Surrey. The matches against Kent were also abandoned. It was all a great pity. A preview of Notts’ prospects for the 1866 season gives an idea of what strength the county possessed:
‘…and all we have to write of this county, so famed for lambs, lace, cricketers and colts, is, that their county contests invariably evoke cricket of the highest form, and are as invariably played out. And if what we witnessed of their Eleven’s cricket last Eastertide on Trent Bridge ground presages their form for 1866, then that form will be great; and those that oppose them on the cricket-field will have to play their very best to get the best of the Notts Eleven, and even then they may not succeed.’
Nottinghamshire were deservedly acclaimed County Champions in 1865 and 1867. George Parr remained as the county captain throughout the 1860s and was still the dominant figure in professional cricket,but the arguments with the authorities at The Oval and Lord’s were partially of his making.
The All England Eleven still commanded the public’s interest and to be employed by Parr with the All England Eleven was the height of ambition for the best professionals – the pay was better! It should also be mentioned that Parr selected and led the 1863-64 touring team to Australia and New Zealand, having declined the offer of the captaincy of the tour of 1861-62 for purely financial reasons.
The team left England on October 16 and landed back on June 13 – virtually eight months, nowadays an eight weeks tour is considered a terrible trial. The two Notts men on the trip, aside from Parr, were John Jackson and Cris Tinley. The trio only missed the first county fixture of 1864, v Kent at Trent Bridge – Notts still won by an innings without their three star players.
As an amusing aside relating to tours overseas, in 1864, Sir Robert Clifton financed a Nottingham team to visit Paris. Nottingham beat Paris by an innings and 129 runs. The Nottingham eleven contained five cricketers who appeared in first-class matches, George Summers, G.M.Royle and A.Fewkes played for Notts; J.Billyeald and J.W.Burnham for Derbyshire. Sir Henry Bromley opened the batting for Paris. The report states that the match ‘has created the utmost excitement in Paris….the ground was attended by numerous parties including many ladies.’ Despite Sir Robert’s pioneering effort, cricket still doesn’t seem to have taken off in the French capital!
In the period under review (1864 to 1968) the Notts Committee found a continuous flow of fresh talent developing within the county. Four major cricketers, Alfred Shaw, George Summers, Martin McIntyre and Jemmy Shaw made their debuts, replacing Charles Daft, Charles Brampton, Jemmy Grundy and John Jackson. The time was approaching when the Notts Eleven was unable to find places for some exceptional cricketers and the first example was George Howitt, who in fact played simultaneously for Notts and Middlesex – in the 1860s players could appear for both the county of their birth and that of their residence – Howitt, born in Lenton, lived in Bow, Middlesex. The biographies of the 20 players who made their Notts debut in the five seasons, 1864 to 1868 are as follows:
Michael McIntyre, if the report of the Eastwood v Underwood game of June 1869 is to be believed, was a caricature of an Irishman in mid 19th century England. The report runs:
‘Pearce played well for his 15, but was out when having scored only 3, though the umpire evidently thought him too good to go then, so gave him in, much to the chagrin of the Turtles, especially Michael McIntyre, who, dashing his hat on the ground, howled a national air and performed an Irish jig all round the wicket, much to the amusement of the bystanders.’
Born in Cabbage Court, Nottingham in November 1839, McIntyre was one of three brothers, all of whom were talented cricketers. One of his brothers, being called Martin, it is difficult to separate the performances of Michael and Martin in local Nottingham matches. Michael took six wickets for Eastwood v Nottm Commercial at Trent Bridge in June 1863 – Commercial being the top Nottingham club of the time – and this, plus his performance in the Notts Easter Colts trial that year, led to his selection for North for England v Surrey.
It should be mentioned that the leading Notts cricketers refused to play against Surrey that year. McIntyre played two useful innings and took the wickets of Surrey's best batsmen, Henry Jupp and William Caffyn. McIntyre was then picked for Notts v XIV Free Foresters at Trent Bridge and returned figures of nine for 18. The match ended in a tie, but since Free Foresters fielded 14, it is not considered a ‘first-class’ game. He played in the North v Surrey return fixture, which followed on immediately after the Free Foresters game. Again he put in a good all-round performance.
With Parr and his two Notts colleagues still on their way back from Australia, McIntyre was an automatic choice for the first county game of 1864, v Kent at Trent Bridge. He went in no.11 and only bowled three overs. McIntyre never received another opportunity.
He was engaged by Thomas Walker as a professional on Walker’s new ground at Eastwood Hall, but his last appearance in published matches was in 1875 for Eastwood. He fell on hard times and died in Basford Workhouse of phthisis on October 9th 1888, the informant on his death certificate was the Workhouse Master.
His occupation was described as ‘general labourer’. The fact that the burial register in Eastwood originally recorded his name as ‘Richard’ rather than Michael, seems to suggest that, though still living in the family area, he had been disowned and this is rather confirmed by the fact that a cricket reporter searching for Michael McIntyre was informed that he had emigrated to America.
Alfred Shaw – Emperor of Bowlers. That is what his contemporaries dubbed him, but gazing at the 19th century photographs Shaw looks astonishingly like Edward VII, having the same shaped face, the stout figure and the spade beard. Edward VII however only played a handful of cricket matches and achieved nothing. The Lillywhite Companion of 1866 places H.R.H. at the top of the first-class batting table – he had two innings and scored 2 runs! The editor published a letter from H.R.H.’s Secretary acknowledging receipt of the book in the front of the annual!
Obituaries tend to the laudatory, but the best way to place Shaw in the pantheon of famous cricketers is to quote from ‘Cricket’ of January 31st, 1907:
‘To say that he was one of the Kings of Cricket is to understate, rather than exaggerate, the case, for all good judges of the game are unanimous in regarding him as having never been surpassed as a bowler; indeed, the saying ‘As accurate as Alfred Shaw’ has, among cricketers, as much significance as ‘as safe as the Bank of England’ among people generally. It is of course impossible to compare Shaw with such old-time worthies as David Harris, William Lillywhite, Lumpy and others, for the conditions that existed in his time were quite different from those of sixty or seventy years earlier. It is nevertheless quite as impossible to believe that either of the great trio mentioned, ever excelled the Nottinghamshire crack so far as precision is concerned. That Shaw must be reckoned the greatest of all medium pace bowlers is everywhere acknowledged. His extreme accuracy of pitch and a deceptive flight combined to credit him with hundreds of wickets.’
The above extract is less than a tenth of that particular eulogy. Brought up in the round-arm era, his action remained in W.G.Grace’s words, ‘easy round-arm’. In September 1863, Notts arranged a second Colts Trial. Shaw, playing with the Colts (he was born in Burton Joyce in August 1842) took seven wickets for l4 runs. He then appeared in a MCC v Colts of England match at Lord’s and took 13 for 55.
His first-class debut came in Notts’ first game of 1864 and for the next 22 years (except for 1881 and when injured) he was a permanent member of the county side. Because of the Notts’ bowling strength, for several years he played as an all-rounder, with batting as his strength but from 1871 he was a principal element in the Notts attack. In 1877 he missed most of the summer through illness, but the following season was perhaps his most outstanding. He bowled in partnership with the left-arm Fred Morley and both were engaged at Lord’s by MCC as well as playing for Notts. In all first-class matches Shaw took 201 wickets at 10.95, bowling 2,630 overs; Morley had figures of 197 wickets at 12.11 off 1,996.3 overs. For Notts Shaw took 92 wickets and Morley 126.
It was in that summer that the Australian touring side first visited England (excluding the 1868 Aborigines Team); their first fixture was against Notts at Trent Bridge. Shaw and Morley bowled unchanged through both Australian innings. Shaw took 11 for 55, Morley 8 for 72. Australia were all out 63 and 76. Notts won by an innings. It would be informative, but repetitious to log every outstanding analysis returned by Shaw; his final first-class bowling figures for Notts are 898 wickets at 11.51 and in all first-class games 2026 wickets at 12.13 (plus one wicket in which no analysis survives).
From 1865 to 1881(except for 1868 and 1869 when he played for the AEE) Shaw was engaged at Lord’s. In 1883 he was persuaded by Lord Sheffield to come to Sheffield Park, his lordship’s private ground in Sussex, and scour Sussex in order to unearth fresh talent for the Sussex County side. Rather oddly, by today’s standards, this appointment with Lord Sheffield coincided with Notts appointing Shaw as county captain. His success as captain however has never been equalled for Nottinghamshire and rarely by other county captains – Shaw took Notts to the County Championship title in four successive summers. Precisely what occurred next is not clear, though the outcome is.
He parted company with Notts and Mordecai Sherwin was made captain for 1887. The press were astonished, the sacking of the most successful captain of all time. Shaw remained with Lord Sheffield for another nine seasons but his mission to discover new Sussex talent failed – in fact in 1894 Shaw, after seven years out of county cricket and now aged 51 was co-opted into the Sussex county side. The season’s review explains the outcome:
‘The famous veteran bowled with a skill and accuracy which proved him by far the best bowler in the Sussex team…The fact that Shaw headed the Sussex bowling averages speaks volumes for the manner in which he has retained his form.’
Twice he took seven wickets in an innings – against Surrey and against Notts, two of the strongest batting sides. His legs finally gave way early in the following summer, when, against Notts at Trent Bridge, his analysis read 100.1-31-168-4. (there were 5 balls per over, but Shaw’s 500.1 balls in a single innings remains the record in Championship cricket).
He finally retired from County cricket, though maing a last appearance in first-class matches for Notts v Philadelphians in 1897. After leaving Lord Sheffield’s employ, Shaw joined the first-class umpires’ list for 1898 and remained on it until ill-health forced his retirement in 1905.
Whilst full of praise for his bowling and captaincy, critics were not too enthusiastic about Shaw’s batting and fielding. In 1875 a journalist commented:
‘Shaw is not very certain in his batting and fielding; he hits hard to square-leg, and sometimes plays in good form, at other times he is flukey, and he will sometimes field well and make good catches, whilst at others he is slow and cannot get over the ground at all; he is usually a dead shot at the wicket’.
Shaw toured Australia five times – in 1876-77 he bowled the first ball in the first ever Test Match; in 1881-82 he captained the side including in four Tests. In 1884-85, 1886-87 and 1891-92 he acted as manager and did not appear in any first-class games. During the three tours of the 1880s he was joint promoter of the trip and made substantial sums, but he was also joint promoter of the 1887-88 tour (though not travelling to Australia) and later claimed he lost all the money made on the previous ventures. In 1868 and 1879 he toured North America.
As a businessman he was in partnership with Arthur Shrewsbury in the sports goods firm, Shaw & Shrewsbury, founded in 1880. He was at one time landlord of the Lord Nelson Inn in Burton Joyce and from 1878 to 1881 landlord of the Prince of Wales Inn in Kilburn, London. Shaw died at his home in Gedling in January 1907 and is buried in Gedling Churchyard.
His brother, William, played one match for Notts in 1866.
William Oscroft was a third player to make his Notts debut v Kent at Trent Bridge in 1864. Although not as famous as Alfred Shaw, he was destined to enjoy a long and fruitful career in county cricket. Born in Arnold in December 1843 he was the nephew of three Oscrofts, John, James and Sam, all of whom were well known locally both as cricketers and pedestrians. John played cricket for Nottinghamshire and his biography has previouly been given in Part 2. William Oscroft’s professional career began with Eastbourne C.C. in 1861. He caused a sensation at Lord’s in 1864 when he played for the Colts of England v MCC and had innings of 51 and 76. The pair of innings of that competence by an unknown trialist were unheard of.
Richard Daft was later to state that Oscroft was the hardest hitter of the ball that he had ever witnessed. In his second season with Notts – he was also engaged by George Parr for the All England Eleven – Oscroft not only took part in the first ever 100 opening stand for the county, namely 146 v Cambridgeshire at Old Trafford, but he hit 107 v Sussex at Hove. He headed the first-class batting averages for the season with 43.16 per innings. Despite continuing in county cricket until 1882, Oscroft never quite replicated that brilliant start. In 1873-74 he was one of the side led by W.G.Grace which toured Australia and in 1879 went with Daft to North America.
In 1876 he took over from George Parr the managing and captaincy of the All England Eleven, but, by then, its days were numbered. In 1881 he was appointed Notts captain in place of Richard Daft, but it was the year of the strike and Notts were without Shaw and Shrewsbury for all but the first match. He continued as captain in 1882, having the satisfaction of leading Notts to be joint champions with Lancashire.
At the end of that summer he was awarded a benefit match and received in all £650, which he claimed to be the highest, up to that date, ever received by a Notts player. Oscroft then retired. In 1875 he became the landlord of the Royal Oak Inn in Nottingham and then moved to the Peacock Inn, Mansfield about 1885. He died, after a long illness of locomotor ataxia on October 10, 1905 and is buried in Redhill Cemetery, where his grave still stands.
Vincent Tinley the fourth Notts debutant in the opening game of 1864 v Kent at Trent Bridge, like McIntyre only made a single first-class appearance for the County – one assumes that Tinley played in lieu of his brother Cris, who had not arrived back in Nottingham from the Australian tour.
Vincent Tinley was baptised in Southwell on January 17, 1828, though his date of birth is generally given as January 26 of the same year (perhaps January 6 is correct?). He is first recorded playing for Southwell in 1845 and in 1848 and 1849 he was the Southwell professional. For the two years that followed Tinley was engaged in Manchester – as a result he made two appearances for Lancashire, both v Yorkshire, in 1851. In 1852 he moved to Torquay and represented Devonshire, returning figures of 14.2-7-12-8 v All England. From 1854 to 1860 he was at Lowestoft. In 1861 he played in the first Notts Colts Trial, despite being aged 33, The same year he turned out for Lincolnshire. Tinley died at 39 Pym Street, Nottingham on November 19, 1899. The occupation given on his death certificate is that of ‘stationary engine driver’.
Alfred Fewkes’ only game for the County was a most unusual of fixture. It is worth just quoting a little from the match report:
‘The game of cricket is now become a totally different thing in its development, to what it was fifteen or sixteen years ago, when the late veteran Clarke travelled with his troupe throughout the country. Now-a-days, the public like to hear of County Clubs, and want to witness eleven-a-side county matches; and so they rejoiced to see amongst the fixtures of the M.C.C., a match announced for a Monday in the height of the season, between the Counties of Nottingham and Cambridge; the Committee were applauded and thanked for their energy in arranging such a treat and the representatives of the counties were heartily welcomed.’
George Parr, of course, as inheritor of Clarke’s mantle and at loggerheads with Lord’s and The Oval, did not come, neither did the Notts wicketkeeper, Sam Biddulph, so Alfred Fewkes, described as a young amateur from the village of Basford and a member of the Nottm Commercial Club was selected as the county wicketkeeper.
Alfred Fewkes was born on August 30, 1837, but for many years his date of birth in cricket reference books was shown as 1847, which would have made him aged only 16. A lace manufacturer he appeared in the regular Lace v Hosiery matches on a number of occasions and was a subscribing member of the County Club. He died of heart disease on April 1, 1912 at 5, Alexandria St, Nottingham.
William Williams also made his first-class debut in the Lord’s match v Cambridgeshire in 1864. Born in Arnold in November 1844, he was educated at Oundle, where he enjoyed a successful cricketing career, being captain in his final season of 1861. He made his first-class debut for the Gentlemen of the North v Gentlemen of the South in 1862, having played for Notts Colts in the same year. In 1863 he played for Nottinghamshire, but only against the XXII Colts.
A fast round-arm bowler and useful batsman, Williams played nine times in first-class matches for the County, the last occasion being in 1875; in 1878 however he played for An England Eleven v Players of the North at Dewsbury, this was his last first-class game. Williams, who was a solicitor by profession, died in Wandsworth, London in March 1885.
John Smith, born Ruddington on November 8, 1835, was a hard-hitting batsman and a medium-slow round-arm bowler. He played on three occasions for XXII Colts v Nottinghamshire and finally made his county debut v Kent at Crystal Palace in July 1864; his second and final county game came immediately following, v Surrey at The Oval.
Smith did however play for the County XI v XVI Colts in l865, being awarded the prize bat for his score of 27. In 1866 he had a successful engagement at Rochdale, hitting 111 not out v Manchester at Old Trafford and he also represented Players of Lancashire v Gentlemen in the same summer. Smith died in Bury, Lancashire on May 29, 1889, but he is buried in Ruddington.
John Hilton junior was born in Mansfield on April 19, 1838. In the absence of Charles Brampton (sprained wrist) he opened the innings for Notts v Surrey at The Oval on June 26, 27, 28, 1865, when he scored 7. It proved to be his only match for the county. He was the son of John Hilton, who played for Notts in 1830. John Hilton junior had trials with Notts Colts in 1862 and 1863.
He moved to Warwick in 1863 and was a professional there for at least three seasons. In the 1870s Hilton moved to Stafford and was employed as a french polisher by the firm of Brookfields. It is reported that his last cricket match was for Brookfields when at the age of 62, he hit 50. In 1910 he was trimming his corns with a razor; the razor slipped cutting his big toe. He failed to get the wound treated and died of blood poisoning at his home, 20 Cooperative St, Stafford on May 8, 1910.
James Coupe Shaw, like Hilton, made his Notts debut v Surrey at The Oval in 1865. A description of him makes amusing reading:
‘Shaw was then a slim young fellow, and about the same make as W.Shepherd of Surrey. He looked as if his tiring delivery would soon pull him all to pieces, but such has not proved to be the case, and he has thriven well on his hard work, and managed to keep pegging away with his fast left-handers against elevens and twenty-twos all over the country, and now(1875) with his thick moustache, powerful frame and corporation, few would recognise the debutant of ten seasons back. Shaw’s delivery is high and whip-like and as regular as a machine.’
Born in Sutton in Ashfield on April 11 1836(this is correct, though several reference books give later years), he does not seem to have played in any major Nottingham club matches prior to his county debut and his first professional engagement was with Wellington College and R.M.C. in 1864. The following season he was a pro in Oxford and it would appear that useful performances at Oxford enabled him to obtain a place in the Notts side. He was immediately worth his place and topped the bowling table at the end of the season (in fact he was the leading bowler in the country). In 1866 he again was the leading bowler in England with 40 wickets @ 10.75; his best year was 1870 when his 96 wickets cost 10.31 runs each. During that year Shaw returned figures of 39.1-25-20-10 for Notts v England at Eastwood Hall.
This is not considered as ‘first-class’ since Notts fielded 14 players, and even if the England side was hardly representative, it is an outstanding feat. Another measure of Shaw’s success is the times that he dismissed W.G.Grace. Shaw bowled against Grace in 63 innings and dismissed the great batsman 28 times – no other bowler can claim a greater success rate. Grace described Shaw’s bowling:
‘He bowled fast left-hand with a high delivery and at times was very difficult to play. There was not the spin that made Freeman so difficult, but he brought his arm from behind with a very quick action, making it difficult to see, and if you were at all careless the ball was on you before you expected it.’
In nine seasons, 1866 to 1874 Shaw did not miss a single Notts first-class game, a consistency that few fast bowlers can claim. Whilst Shaw was a quiet extraordinary bowler, he was a poor field and a dreadful batsman, possible the worst to play for the county with any regularity. His county career ended in 1875, but in 1877 he signed as pro for East Lancashire and had ten very productive seasons there. On a personal note, a biographical sketch states:
‘An original in his way, Jemmy Shaw was by no means unassuming company.’ Shaw died at his home in New Cross, Sutton in Ashfield on March 7, 1888 of pneumonia. In his early life he had been a framework knitter, but from his mid 20s his sole occupation was that of professional cricketer.
George Paling was a fast scoring batsman and medium pace bowler, though it was his fine fielding which attracted him to George Parr and so into the County side. He was born in Nottingham on November 29, 1836. According to one report he grew up in Sutton in Ashfield and learnt his early cricket in that district. He made his Notts debut v Cambridgeshire in August 1865 at Old Tafford in place of Richard Daft. Paling was the professional at Trinity College,Glenalmond and with the United England Eleven that summer, when he also appeared for Players of Scotland v Gentlemen. He made seven first-class appearances for Notts, but he also appeared for the county v England at Eastwood Hall in 1870. He was the professional at Magdalen College Oxford for eight seasons from 1868, and died in Nottingham on December 18, 1879 aged 43.
George Howitt was born in Old Lenton on March 14, 1843, his father, Charles Howitt, had been a notable local cricketer in the 1820s. In 1858 he moved to Bow in Middlesex and played for Carlton C.C. in Bow prior an engagement with Middlesex in 1864, the first professional to be employed by that county. A left-arm fast bowler, he made his debut for Middlesex in 1865 and appeared in 43 first-class matches for the Metropolitans under a residential qualification, his final game being in 1876.
In 1866 he made his debut for Nottinghamshire (until 1873 players were free to represent both their county of birth and that of residence) v Yorkshire, but the game was seriously affected by rain and he neither batted or bowled. The last of his first-class matches for his native county was in 1870 and his best performance, nine for 89 v Yorkshire at Trent Bridge in 1869. Apart from 1872, when he was at Lord’s, Howitt was a professional at Cambridge from 1868 to 1877. Playing for XXII of Cadoxton v USEE in 1868, Howitt dismissed W.G.Grace for a duck in each innings. The previous year one of his deliveries dispatched a bail right out of the ground at Hull. Whilst coaching at Winchester College in 1879 he ruptured a blood vessel over his heart. His health never recovered, even though Middlesex in 1880 paid part of the cost of a trip to Australia to improve his health.
For some years he kept a law and general stationers’ shop in Bow; latterly he returned to Nottingham, where he was employed in a solicitor’s office. He died of consumption in Nottingham on December 19, 1881. A subscription was raised for Howitt’s orphaned children and a letter from his daughter survives which conveys an idea of life in the 1890s:
‘Dear Sir, I am writing to you at my sister’s request asking you to kindly send me £2.0.0 to help me complete my wardrobe as I am going to stay at Reigate for 2 weeks with my sister, Louie, for the benefit of my health. I have been in a situation for a little while since I came out of the Infirmary, but find my health begining(sic) to fail again, so my sister thought by going to stay with her at Reigate for 2 weeks would do me good. She is willing to assist me as much as she can, but she cannot get all I want to go with & pay expenses as well, so that is why she asked me to write to you for £2 hoping you will concider(sic) it over & oblige with an answer as soon as it is possible as my sister wishes me to be ready on her return from her holidays. Dear Sir should you wish to write to my sister to know wether(sic) this is true or not you will find her at The Schools, Steeple Barton, Oxford. I remain yours obediently, Lydia M.Howitt’
William Shaw. the brother of Alfred, was born in Burton Joyce on August 5, 1827. He made a single appearance for Nottinghamshire, v Cambridgeshire at Trent Bridge in 1866, scoring 1 in his only innings. He had played for XXII Colts v Nottinghamshire in 1861, then for Notts v XXII Colts in 1862, but his cricket was in the main for his native village where he was employed as a framework knitter. He died in Burton Joyce on February 13, 1890.
John Thomas Oscroft, a brother of William Oscroft, was born in Arnold on March 24, 1846. He is described as ‘a correct bat, with good defence, but very little hit, his play being tame, and without his brother’s punishing powers. He usually went in early in the order, and was not an easy wicket to get.’ The Notts authorities clearly believed Oscroft had talent, for he had the unique experience of being selected for the XXII Colts in five successive years, 1863 to 1867. In the 1864 game he was awarded the bowling prize and praised for his fielding, but otherwise did little in the five games. In 1864 he was engaged at Old Trafford and appeared for Players of Lancashire v Gentlemen. In 1865 he made his debut for M.C.C., whilst on the groundstaff at Lord’s. His first-class debut for Notts came at Islington in 1867 v Middlesex, when he replaced the injured George Parr.. His only regular season in the Notts side was in 1868, his final game being in 1874. In 1866 and 1867 he was engaged in Bradford, in 1868 he was with the All England Eleven. From 1870 to 1873 he was at East Lancashire and in 1874 and 1875 with Burnley.
Originally a framework knitter, he became landlord of the Plough and Harrow Inn in Arnold and died there on June 15, 1885 of cirrhosis of the liver aged 39. He was generally shown in match cards as J,Oscroft jun to distinguish him from his uncle, also John Oscroft.
George Summers is chiefly recalled by historians as the only Nottinghamshire cricketer to be killed whilst playing for the County. A report of the incident gives a clear account of both that tragedy and the demeanour of Summers in general:
‘On the third day of the match at Lord’s between Nottinghamshire and M.C.C., Summers faced the first ball from Platts. It struck him on the left side of the head just above the ear and felled him to the ground, rolling like a shot rabbit, and producing concussion of the brain. It was thought that had he remained in town he would have had a better chance of recovery, but he wished to return to his parents and, leaving for Nottingham on Friday, he sank and died on Sunday morning, June 19, at his father’s house, the Summers’ Hotel, 35, Station Street, Nottingham, within two days of his twenty-sixth birthday.
His father never recovered the death of his favourite son, and did not long survive him. Mrs Summers’s Botanic Beer and Botanic Wine are much esteemed for their medicinal properties in the Midland Counties, and the old lady was always most careful that her son should take them about with him wherever he went. Botanic Beer seems to have a considerable sale in Manchester, and is like ginger beer impregnated with herbs.
Summers was a most gentlemenly-looking, well-built young man, and strangers were astonished at being told that the two Nottingham fieldsmen at leg and cover – he and Daft - were professional cricketers. Summers was always neatly dressed in the field, and was a well-spoken, good-looking man, with a heavy moustache, and always bore himself much more like a gentleman than the half-and-half amateurs who sometimes play in big matches. He was a most hard-working field, as all who saw him in the match in which he met his death can testify, and his catching, stopping and return were alike excellent. As a bat he had a very strong defence and correct style, with plenty of wrist play. He was at first wanting in ‘hit’ but, as in Daft’s case, this was coming to him when his career was so untimely cut short.
He was a great favourite with all classes. Daft and Mr G.M.Royle, the captains of the County and Nottingham Commercial Clubs respectively, were pall-bearers and other cricketers attended the funeral, on June 22, at the Nottingham Cemetery, wherein the Marylebone Club have erected a monument to his memory.’
Summers was born in Nottingham on June 21, 1844 and first played for the XXII Colts in 1864 and again in April 1867, before making his county debut v Middklesex at Islington in June 1867, when he scored 29 and 37. This immediately secured him a permanent place in the County side. In that first season he was chosen for Players v Gentlemen at Lord’s and North v South, also at Lord’s. He travelled with the Nottingham team to Paris in 1864 and scored 90 in one innings whilst there.
John Grosvenor Beevor, a solicitor with practices at Worksop and Carlton, near Newark, made his debut for Nottinghamshire v Lancashire at Trent Bridge in May 1868. He was a member of Uppingham Rovers, Free Foresters and Midland County Diamonds and had been in the XI at Uppingham for four seasons 1859-1862. A tall powerfully built man he was an attacking batsman, but he only made five appearances for the full County side, the last being v M.C.C. at Lord’s in 1870 (the match in which Summers died, Beevor had opened the batting in Notts first innings, but went in no.5 in the second). Beevor played fairly frequently for Notts Gentlemen. He was born at Barnby Moor on January 1, 1845 and died there on May 5, 1903. His final first-class match was for Gentlemen of the North in 1871. He also turned out for Notts v Next XVI in June 1873, when several of the first team regulars were absent.
Samuel Sharpe made just two appearances for Nottinghamshire, both in 1868. A right-hand medium pace bowler and sound batsman, he was born in Ruddington on January 13, 1839 and his first professional engagement was at Liverpool in 1859, however from 1860 to 1883, with the exception of 1863 and 1864, he was pro with Rock Ferry. A framework knitter, he died in Ruddington on November 5, 1924 and is buried in Ruddington churchyard. His son, J.W.Sharpe, played for Surrey, Notts and England.
Martin McIntyre was the second of the three brothers to represent the county. On his day he was an exceedingly fast bowler; according to one comment McIntyre was faster than John Jackson, ‘a batsman was struck, before he thought the ball had been bowled’. W.G.Grace gives a vivid description: ‘McIntyre bowled fast round-arm, with a very high delivery, and when he had a wicket to suit him was quite unplayable, and frightened timid batsmen as much as ever Tarrant did. If the wicket were(sic) at all fast, and a little bit fiery or rough, his cart-wheel delivery caused the ball to get up with startling quickness, and the batsman’s fingers and body were visited as often as the wicket. An occasional shooter came along, and altogether it was a lively time while it lasted. McIntyre beamed and smiled at the results; though he was always ready to apologise when an exceptionally hard knock came.’
Grace goes on to mention that McIntyre went on tour to Australia with him (in 1873-74) and once or twice the hosts’ hospitality got the better of McIntyre, but he was always very good-tempered. Apart from his bowling McIntyre was an excellent batsman and unlike some all-rounders, he often performed well in both talents in the same match. Unfortunately his fielding was in a different class – ‘he is a lazy field, apparently too tall to get down to the ball and cannot throw in at all.’
After appearing in the Notts Colts Trial of 1868, he played in several county matches that summer with some success, but in 1869 and 1870 he was engaged by the Germantown Club in Philadelphia. He resumed his county career in 1871, though in 1872 he was severely reprimanded by the Notts Committee for indiscipline and drunkenness. He was given ‘one last chance’ and produced the performance of a lifetime. The game was v Surrey at The Oval. Notts batting first collapsed in 55 for seven. McIntyre then joined Daft and the pair added 147 for the 8th wicket. McIntyre hit 88. Surrey batted and were all out for 60, with McIntyre bowling unchanged, returning figures of 24.3-10-33-9. The follow on was enforced, bad fielding however allowed Surrey to make 315 and the game was drawn. McIntyre finished with 12 wickets and 115 runs in the game.
He played regularly for Notts until the end of 1875, not at all in 1876 and finally two matches in 1877. His final first-class match was for an England XI v Cambridge University in 1878 and in 1882, when he was engaged at Sunderland, he appeared in one game for Durham.
Born in Eastwood on August 15, 1847, he died in poor circumstances in Moor Green on February 28, 1885. In 1886 McIntyre’s widow wrote to the Notts County Club appealing for money, but a police investigation found that she was soon to be married to ‘a young man named Harrison, who is a labourer on the Moor Green Estate. It was reported some time ago that she was leading a fast life, but I think this is not true; she appears to be very respectable.’ The County Club declined to send her any money.
John Richard Truswell was born in Farnsfield on January 1, 1841. A slow bowler his first published match was for his native village in 1859 and in 1862 it was reported that he gave a sovereign towards the expense of a new cricket ground in the village. He appeared in the Colts Trials of 1864 and 1865, having the odd experience of being judged out ‘handled ball’ in the 1864 game. His two first-class matches for Notts were both in July 1868, v Surrey and Lancashire. He had the misfortune to have a nail broken off attempting a catch in the Surrey game. He ran the family farm in Farnsfield and died of dropsy at home on August 6, 1892.
Frederick Wild (or Wyld) was the first batsman to score a century for Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge, the game being against Gloucestershire in 1872. Described as ‘a brilliant display of high class batting, the innings lasted three hours and contained a six(hit out of the ground) and 14 fours. He received £13 from a collection raised by the spectators. It proved to be his only Notts hundred, but he also reached three figures (again 104) for M.C.C. v Cambridge University in 1877.
Born in Eastwood on August 28, 1847, Wild began playing with Eastwood at the age of 13 and was much encouraged by Squire Walker of Eastwood Hall. His first professional engagement was at Newark in 1867 with both the Town Club and the Grammar School.
Wild was tried with the Colts in the Easter of 1868 and made his county debut v Surrey at The Oval in July of that year. In 1869 he secured a permanent place in the county eleven and in 1871 was generally employed as an opening batsman.
His batting was described as ‘can hit well all-round, excelling in the cut’. He was originally considered a very promising fast bowler, but with the Notts attack being so strong, was rarely used in county matches. In 1869 and 1870 he was engaged by Accrington, then from 1871 to 1874 combined an early season at Cambridge University with matches for the All England Eleven. He was the M.C.C. groundstaff in 1875, remaining until 1887. With the death of Sam Biddulph in 1876, several young players were tried as wicketkeeper, but none was found suitable and Wild took on that post. His duties behind the stumps had a detrimental effect on his batting and the press suggested that Wild would be better played simply as a batsman – he was an excellent outfield – but the Notts club did not heed the cry. The magazine The Cricket Field later noted: ‘Had his skill as a wicketkeeper been commensurate with his pluck, he would doubtless have taken high honours. It should be borne in mind that Sherwin made his debut for Nottinghamshire in 1876, but was held in reserve until Wild was completely played out.’
In 1879 Wild’s batting average fell to single figures. He was dropped after three games in 1880, with Sherwin taking over as wicketkeeper. During the strike of 1881, Wild was recalled purely as a batsman and averaged 19, his best figure for several years, but that summer proved to be his final one for the County. He still played some first-class matches for M.C.C. until 1885.
Wild had originally been a collier in Eastwood; a light-hearted fellow he was popular with his cricketing colleagues. After his benefit match in 1890 he took the Black Bull Inn, Chapel Bar, Nottingham and died there of consumption and dropsy on February 11, 1893. His son, Frederick, had a trial with the XXII Colts in 1899.
Philip William Herbert Miles was one of six sons of Robert Miles, rector of Bingham. Three of the sons were useful cricketers, in addition one was a well known artist. Only the subject of this notice however played first-class cricket for Nottinghamshire. P.W.H.Miles was born in Bingham on January 7, 1848 and educated at Marlborough, where he was in the XI in 1865, being described as a fine leg hitter and a promising medium pace bowler. He moved to Woolwich from Marlborough and appeared in the annual Woolwich v Sandhurst match. He was commissioned in the Royal Artillery. His three matches for Nottinghamshire were v Lancashire in 1868, v MCC in 1869 and v Gloucestershire in 1877. He hit 123 for Royal Artillery v Royal Engineers in 1873 and apart from regular matches with the Royal Artillery, Miles played occasionally for Gentlemen of Notts. In 1874 he was stationed in India, he retired from the Army in 1902 with the rank of Major and in later years lived in Bude, Cornwall, where he died on December 4, 1933.
His brother Robert Fenton Miles was born on January 24, 1846, also educated at Marlborough, he went up to Trinity College, Oxford and obtained his blue was a slow left arm spin bowler. He moved to Bristol, where he was in the banking profession and played for Gloucestershire with some success in 59 matches between 1870 and 1879. Fenton Miles, as he was generally known, died in Clifton, Bristol on February 26, 1930. James Savile Henry Miles, the third cricketing brother played for Notts Gentlemen, Gitanos and Cheshire. He was born in 1844 and died in Clifton in 1933. He was educated at Marlborough and Oxford, but was not in the XI at either establishment. The fourth brother, a friend of Oscar Wilde, was a notable painter, having pictures hung in the Royal Academy and as a portrait painter his subjects included the Princes of Wales. Unfortunately he was confined to Brislington Asylum in 1887 and died there in 1891 of cerebral malady.
Alfred Sears played once for Notts v XX of Bradford in 1867, when he failed to score in either innings. He played in the Colts Trial of 1866, in which year he hit 139 for Worksop v Brigg and 122 for Nottingham Commercial v Eastwood. He was born in Carrington on November 9, 1846, but died on April 28, 1870 aged 23.
Rev Alvery Richard Dodsley-Flamsteed made a single appearance for Notts v XXII Colts in August 1864. He was baptised in Lambley on September 11, 1836 and was educated at Exeter College. From 1861 to 1873 he was vicar of Lambley and from 1866 Treasurer of Notts Gentlemen, playing in many of their matches, as well as for Radcliffe. He moved to Bristol on being appointed vicar of St George’s there in 1873 and died in the city on December 27, 1901.