Joe Clarke has won the Walter Lawrence Trophy for the fastest hundred in the Vitality Blast this summer.

The Green and Golds' top-order batsman struck an unbeaten 44-ball century against Durham to give the Outlaws the perfect start to the competition.

Joe becomes the seventh Nottinghamshire player to win the Walter Lawrence Trophy, now in its 86th year, joining Joe Hardstaff in 1937, Cyril Poole (1949), Garfield Sobers (1968 and 1974), Paul Johnson (1993), Chris Cairns (1995) and Mark Ealham (2006).

Chasing a total of 182, the 24-year-old was dropped on eight before sharing a second-wicket stand of 105 and finishing with an unbeaten 100 to see his side home with 28 balls to spare.

His innings, which included seven fours and eight sixes, was only the fourth T20 hundred scored by a Notts Outlaw.

The Walter Lawrence Trophy was first introduced in 1934 by master builder Sir Walter Lawrence who was so passionate about cricket that he created his own ground at Hyde Hall, near Sawbridgeworth in Hertfordshire.

Hyde Hall played host to most of the county sides of the day, and visitors to the ground were entertained in the true tradition of country house cricket.

In 1934 he offered his personal patronage to the game by introducing an award for the fastest hundred scored in an English season in a First-Class innings.

Sir Walter Lawrence died in 1939. His son Guy did not share his father’s passion for cricket, and consequently there was no presentation during the Second World War – nor for many years after.

However, in 1965 Brian Thornton inherited the Trophy on the death of his father-in-law, Guy Lawrence, and the following year reinstated the award for the fastest Test century by an England batsman, with the help of MCC and many others, including Brian Johnston.

In 1970 the Trophy reverted to its original form for the fastest First-Class century during the English cricket season. Also in that year the award was presented for ‘the most meritorious innings of the England v The Rest of the World series’ to Geoff Boycott, for his 222-ball century at The Oval.

In 1985 the basis for the award was changed from minutes to the number of balls faced. The fastest century under the pre-1985 system was Steve O’Shaughnessy’s hundred in 35 minutes for Lancashire v Leicestershire at Old Trafford in 1983.

The fastest century so far is Tom Moody’s 100 off 36 balls scored in 1990 during the Warwickshire v Glamorgan match at Swansea.

In 2008 the trophy was opened for the first time to all the domestic county competitions. 

Now centuries scored across all domestic and international matches in England are eligable.