Eventful history of Notts and Worcs


Asked to name the only Worcestershire player to get a hat trick at Trent Bridge, even the most ardent Pears fan might take a while to come up with the answer – Fred Wheldon.

Especially as Wheldon was playing at the turn of the 20th century and Worcestershire didn’t play Notts until 1921…

But Wheldon did score a hat trick for England against Ireland in the football international in 1897, when he was an Aston Villa player!

Fred Wheldon was also in the eleven when The Pears made their County Championship debut in 1899 – playing against Yorkshire at New Road. Skipper that day was Harry Foster who also was the first batter to record a double hundred for Worcestershire, against Somerset at New Road in 1903.  Foster was one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year for 1911.


One of Harry Foster’s bats is in the Trent Bridge collection on display in the Long Room (Bat 48).

Although Nottinghamshire did not play Worcestershire for another twenty-two years, they did contribute a ‘Pair of Pears’ to that first county game.

Included in that first championship XI were Thomas Straw, born in Hucknall Torkard and with 61 First-Class appearances for Worcester, and Eastwood-born Robert Burrows, who played 277 First-Class games for his adopted county.

Straw played one game for Nottinghamshire Seconds in 1891 which appears to be his only appearance at Trent Bridge.  He had a modest First-Class batting record, a highest score of 32 and an average of 10.71, but looks to have been a more than useful keeper, taking 122 catches and 12 stumpings in his 61 games.

Rob Burrows was another who never played against (or for) his home county and his only appearance at Trent Bridge was a rather dismal one.  He was appointed umpire for the 1926 Ashes Test, notable because it was the first time that a Notts player, Arthur Carr, had captained England in a Test at Trent Bridge.  Sadly for Carr and Burrows, almost the entire match was washed out by rain.

Burrows only other local connection was to stand in a match at Long Eaton between the local club and Derbyshire Club and Ground.

In his playing days, he made more than 5,000 First-Class runs with two hundreds, the highest being 112 against Gloucestershire in 1907. 

With the ball, his right-arm fast bowling brought him 848 First-Class wickets at 26.40; he had 57 ‘five-fers’ and took ten or more in a match nine times. His best return was 8-48 against Somerset in 1908.

The two counties met for the first time at New Road in August 1921 when the home side romped home by eight wickets. Maurice Foster, brother of first skipper Harry, top scored in the match with 73 but the Worcester star was off-break bowler Humphrey Gilbert who had match figures of 13-116.

The return match was three weeks later when Notts extracted a fair measure of revenge.  Worcestershire made 154 and 137, the wickets being fairly shared amongst the Notts bowlers, and Nottinghamshire’s 356, built around Wilf Payton’s 125, was enough for an innings victory.

One other memorable game between these two counties came in 2021 when The Pears were the visitors to Trent Bridge in that eerie time when spectators were allowed into the ground as the Covid restriction eased – but only with social distancing and very careful conditions, like hand sanitisers around the ground.

The Match Day Guide makes interesting reading - see here

It was unfortunate that the weather that May was decidedly un-Spring-like and the few visitors that braved the cold and drizzle were soon huddled (as much as distancing would allow) under the shelter of the Smith Cooper stand.

Though the occasion was perhaps more important than the action on the field, it was another handsome win for Notts.  Ben Duckett’s 177 and some hostile quick bowling from Stuart Broad, Luke Fletcher and Dane Paterson ensured another innings winning margin.

April 2024