When the West Indies Cricket Team arrive on these shores in 2012, they will be looking to maintain a remarkable sequence of results at Trent Bridge. Since first visiting the ground in 1906 they are yet to lose a single first class fixture, having played against the county team on 14 occasions and faced England there on eight occasions in Test matches.

The longest gap between visits was the seventeen years leading up to their 1923 tour but they made up for lost time by travelling the length and breadth of the country.

Between the end of May and the beginning of September that summer, the tourists played a total of 20 first class matches, including the fixture against Nottinghamshire in early July.

There were a couple of familiar faces in their party. Harold Austin was again skipper – having led the 1906 side, although he was plagued by illness for much of the summer and only played in eleven of the matches.

George Challenor also returned. The Barbadian had only been 18 years of age on the previous tour and made his first career century at Trent Bridge. Now 35, he was seen as their key batsmen and again proved his liking for the East Midlands air when the tourists arrived in Nottingham to face the county side.

Batting first in the 3-day contest, Notts made 353, with half-centuries for Wilfred Payton, George Gunn, Robert Turner and Lionel Kirk, with the opposition responding with a creditable 317. 

Joe Small, from Trinidad and Tobago, enjoyed a fine all-round match, top-scoring with 71 after taking five wickets in the Notts first innings. Challenor and Trinidad’s George Dewhurst also passed fifty.

Nottinghamshire built upon their advantage of 36 by making 345 in their second knock, with Kirk again impressing, in making 86.

Right-arm medium-pace bowler Cyril Browne – known to one and all as ‘Snuffy’ Browne took the bowling honours by taking 7-97.

Echoing the previous tour, the West Indians gave a spirited showing in their second innings as both openers registered unbeaten centuries. Challenor made 102 not out, with his partner – fellow Barbadian Percy Tarilton finishing on 109 not out, with the stand worth 219 in pursuit of 382.

4,5,6 July 1923
Notts 353 (Payton 84, Small 5-93) and 345 (Kirk 86, Browne 7-97)
West Indians 317 (Small 71) and 219-0 (Tarilton 109 not out, Challenor 102 not out)  

Match Drawn

The full details of the match can be found here.

The 1928 tour of the British Isles was undoubtedly the most important made by the West Indians to that point, as it enabled them to join England, Australia and South Africa as the fourth Test playing nation.

In truth, their elevation to the highest level of the game didn’t go well, with them losing all three Test matches to England by some distance.

The make up of the West Indian side for their first ever Test is interesting, with four Trinidad and Tobago players (Wilton St Hill, Cliff Roach, Learie Constantine and Joe Small), four from Barbados (George Challenor, Snuffy Browne, George Francis and Herman Griffith - who had been born in Trinidad but played all of his cricket for Barbados), captain Karl Nunes and Frank Martin came from Jamaica, whilst Maurice Fernandes was the loan Guyanese representative.

Between the first couple of Test matches the West Indians travelled around the country, squeezing in six matches against county sides. The fourth of those matches was in Nottingham, in early July.

Nunes skippered a side that featured eight of those that had been on duty at Lord’s, although Challenor was rested, thereby missing the opportunity of being able to score a Trent Bridge hundred for the third tour running.

There were a couple of centurions, although the fixture again ended in a draw. Arthur Carr, captaining Nottinghamshire, made exactly 100 out of his side’s first day total of 393 all out.

Edward  ‘Barto’ Bartlett , a right-handed batsman from Barbados – who would eventually get his chance in the Test side at the Kennington Oval later in the summer – made 109 out of 378, before becoming one of Harold Larwood’s three victims. Sam Staples took the bowling honours for the county side, claiming 5-99 with his off breaks.

With time running out in the match, Notts declared on 246-6 second time around, leaving their visitors to close on 85 without loss, chasing a nominal 262.

7,9,10 July 1928
Notts 393 (Carr 100) and 246-6 dec
West Indians 378 (Bartlett 109, Staples 5-99) and 85-0
Match Drawn

The full details of the match can be found here.

The next part of ‘The West Indies Are Coming’ will spotlight on Manny Martindale, star of the 1933 tour and the first in a long line of truly rapid West Indian fast bowlers who have made their mark at Trent Bridge.

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