New Zealand cricketers have played many significant roles in cricket at Trent Bridge, headed by the peerless Sir Richard Hadlee, voted by supporters as Nottinghamshire’s Greatest Player.
Another crowd-pleasing all-rounder was Andre Adams; he had a fine 2010 County Championship, topping the bowling charts for the county with 68 Wickets, including that of Shivnarine Chanderpaul to seal the title at Old Trafford on the last day of the season.
Chris Cairns, one of several New Zealand ‘family’ stars (his father Lance played test and one-day cricket for their country) had a stellar career as a genuine all-rounder. He played Test and One-Day cricket for New Zealand and more than one hundred games for Notts. In his county career, he scored over 8,000 runs and took in excess of 350 wickets.
Cairns was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2021 and faced a difficult treatment period. His friends and colleagues – and thousands of Notts fans – send their very best wishes to Chris and his family.
Stephen Fleming guaranteed his place in Nottinghamshire’s history by leading the team to the 2005 County Championship in his first season, with an immensely impressive and important batting average of 60.53.
Ish Sodhi played an important role in some of Notts best white ball seasons. He was another Kiwi medal winner, having been part of the triumphant Outlaws squad that added the 2017 NatWest T20 Blast trophy to the 50-over cup won a few weeks earlier.
Just this season, Colin Munro and Will Young have turned in some impressive performances for the First Eleven and the Outlaws.
But when it comes to matches between the country and the county, things have rarely turned out quite so positive.
Indeed, in seven matches between New Zealand and Notts at Trent Bridge, spanning more than sixty years, not one has led to a positive result.
That’s seven games, seven draws!
In July 1927, the first time the Kiwis played at Trent Bridge, only two innings were possible across the scheduled three days with half-centuries for NZ skipper Tom Lowry and team-mate ‘Curly’ Page matched by ‘Dodge’ Whysall and Willis Walker for Notts.
Four years later another abbreviated game was notable for the first century of this fixture – 101 by George Gunn – and fifties for ‘Curly’ Page (again), Stewie Dempster and for Notts stalwart, Arthur Staples.
The one high-scoring game of the series came next time Trent Bridge played hosts to New Zealand, in 1937. After a low first innings – Notts skittled for 163, Harold Larwood top scorer with 34 – the next two innings produced four centurions.
Ten years after fifties in their first match here, Tom Lowry and ‘Curly’ Page each went one better, making tons in NZ’s first innings of 428. When Notts batted a second time, the game ended with them on 454-5, George Vernon Gunn with 149 and Joe Hardstaff 110 ensuring that county got the better of the draw.
When the fixture resumed after WWII, in 1949, Hardstaff improved on his score, making 123no in Notts first innings. In reply, John Reid led the way, making 155 (the highest individual score of the series), supported by 120no from Geoff Rabone. Despite three declared innings and Notts using eight bowlers to try to force a result, it was yet another draw.
The 1958 meeting between the two sides produced a slow, low-scoring drawn match, the highlight of which was Gamini Goonesena’s 6-89, at that time his best figures for Notts and still the best bowling return of these seven games.
The bowlers were on top again in 1965 – Carlton Forbes leading the way with five wickets in New Zealand’s first innings – but, yet again, neither side could clinch a win.
The last time that New Zealand played Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge was a great occasion for the Crowe family. In the 1986 match, both Martin and Jeff, the latest members of the famous cricketing family to represent their country, scored half-centuries (80 and 75 respectively) in the first innings.
A typically combative 70 from Chris Broad ensured that the seventh and last fixture ended the same way as the previous six – another draw!
At least the rules of white-ball cricket mean that this year's T20 International should finish with a clear winner.
One of Tom Lowry’s bats is in display in the Trent Bridge Long Room, bat 44
Books by - or about - Cairns, the Crowes, Fleming, Hadlee and other NZ greats can be found in the Wynne-Thomas Library