As preparations are finalised for this week’s LV County Championship game against Kent at Trent Bridge, Cricket Historian Peter Wynne-Thomas looks back at the career of Walter Wright who left Notts to join Kent in 1888.
Surprisingly only one cricketer has played regularly for Nottinghamshire and then moved to Kent and had a successful career with his adopted county.
Walter Wright from Hucknall Torkard was a well-known athlete before he really made his name in County cricket. He made his Notts debut in 1879 as a left-arm fast bowler and played until 1886 when he demanded £10 for playing for Notts v Australia. The committee refused his request and he moved to Maidstone and qualified by residence for Kent in 1888.
He had immediate success and took 114 wickets at 12.86 in 1889. He remained with Kent until 1899 before becoming a first-class umpire. He caused problems in 1900 when the square leg umpire called a no-ball for ‘throwing’ but Wright at the bowler’s end disagreed and wouldn’t allow the extra ball to be bowled. He died in 1940.
Alan Brown from Rainworth must be mentioned as the ‘one who got away’. Nottinghamshire were desperately seeking new local fast bowlers in the 1950s. Brown was given a trial, but ignored. He moved to Kent where he had a very notable career from 1957 to 1970 and was also capped by England in two Tests in 1961-62.
For historians I had better just note that John Bickley, William Clarke, George Parr and John Jackson, Notts stars of the 1850s, turned out briefly for Kent v Rest of England. Kent had been the outstanding County side of the 1830s and 1840s and played against Rest of England at Lord's and then at Canterbury in most years from 1834.
However by the mid-1850s the Kent side was very weak and the Notts men were brought in to strengthen it – in fact Kent still lost despite the addition of the famous Notts players.