- Wisden Trophy awarded retrospectively
Anyone at Trent Bridge last June to witness the thrills of the run chase against New Zealand would surely agree with the nomination of Jonny Bairstow as Wisden Trophy winner for ‘Best Test Performance’ of 2022. But such was his blistering summer, the Award, announced in this year’s Wisden Almanac, was actuslly for his feats in the India Test at Edgbaston when he scored a quick-fire hundred in each innings.
Bairstow, though, was not the only Wisden Trophy winner announced in April – the editorial team at Wisden has been back through the records and retrospectively awarded the Trophy to players from the past for individual performances in every test year between 1877 and 1939.
The impetus to do this came because they had a cup without a recipient now that the Wisden Trophy, which had been competed for between England and the West Indies, was replaced by the Richards-Botham Trophy (there’s a couple of names we can expect to see when the next round of past performances is similarly rewarded).
For Notts then, the interest for now would be which of our stars of the past has been recognised in that 19th – 20th century list?
There are five winners from the County, though only three of them played for Notts. First, perhaps inevitably, was Arthur Shrewsbury, one of the few batters of the ‘Golden Age’ who stands comparison with the great WG (who, incidentally, only gets one Trophy, for all his exploits).
Arthur’s award is for his performance in the Lord’s Ashes test of 1886 when, as the citation says, “Shrewsbury’s 164, in a match where no Australian made 50, clinched the Ashes.”
Two years later, Billy Barnes gets the nod. Against the Aussies at The Oval, “England squared the series, with Barnes scoring 62 and taking 5-32.”
Harold Larwood gets his award, of course, for his performance in an Ashes series in Australia – but not ‘that’ one. ‘Lol’ is Wisden Trophy winner for 1928 when he “Set the tone for the series with 70 and 6-32 as Australia – facing a total of 521 – subsided for 122.”
Presumably – since there is no let or hindrance against a player winning this Wisden award more than once (Bradman gets three) – the fact that the adjudicators have looked at calendar years and Larwood’s Bodyline heroics went across both 1932 and 33 is the reason he is not on the list for a second time.
The two Nottinghamshire-born players to get an award are Johnny Briggs, Sutton-in-Ashfield lad who played his trade for Lancashire, and England and Bill Lockwood from Old Radford, who moved to Surrey having played just five First-Class games for Notts with no great success.
Lockwood’s Wisden Trophy is for 1893 when “Four wickets in each innings, all top-seven batsmen, set up the series’ only decisive result” at The Oval against the Aussies.
Briggs is awarded the title for 1889 when “Briggs’s left-arm spin (7-17 and 8-11) routed South Africa in only their second Test.”
Only one performance at Trent Bridge is deemed worthy of this newly-designated Trophy: Bernard ‘Bosie’ Bosanquet, “The inventor of the googly sealed England’s 213-run victory with 8-107” in the 1905 Ashes Test (only the second at the ground).
In case you’re wondering who could have sneaked past our Harold in those Bodyline years, the 1932 award went to Stan McCabe who “Defied the Bodyline attack with a memorable four-hour 187no”; and the following year Charles Marriott gets the accolade, “In his only Test, the 37-year-old Kent leg-spinner “Father” Marriott took 5-37 and 6-59.”
Before the second tranche of winners is announced, cricket fans can have fun trying to second guess the selection panel – though Notts fans will be astonished if Sobers, Hadlee and, of course, both Broads are not in the mix.
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