Although New Zealand first toured England in 1933 (having played their first Test three years earlier against England in Christchurch), it was not until 1969 that Trent Bridge was awarded its first Test Match with the Kiwis.
The tourists were not, however, unfamiliar with Nottinghamshire, having played the County on six tours going back as far as 1927 when, under Tom Lowry – to be NZ’s first Test Captain – they played out a drawn three-day game. Curiously, once Trent Bridge had joined the list of test grounds to host New Zealand, those county games dried up and there has since been only one match between Nottinghamshire and the Black Caps – in 1986 when Martin and Jeff Crowe each scored half centuries for the visitors and Chris Broad notched up one for the home side.
The 2022 Test is the tenth to be staged between the two nations at Trent Bridge – one of the most notable that played in 2004. Played on the same dates at the current Test (10-14 June), the match ended with England successfully chasing 284-6…still the highest winning chase in Trent Bridge test history. The race to the line was led, as were so many run chases of that era, by Graham Thorpe whose 104no earned him Man-of-the-Match, despite New Zealand featuring two centurions in their innings.
One of those ton-up Kiwis was Stephen Fleming, whose 117 was his only Trent Bridge test century (he, of course, made many more for the County). Another Notts favourite also reached a career milestone – Chris Cairns took nine wickets in the match, which was to be his final Test.
Incidentally, Martin Saggers – reserve umpire in 2022 – also played his final Test in that game; Kyle Mills made his Test debut for the visitors.
Fittingly, another of Notts’ New Zealand imports made his first Test appearance in England (in 1973) at what was to become his home ground. In an online poll during the 2020 Coronavirus 'lockdown', Sir Richard Hadlee was voted the greatest all-time Notts cricketer by supporters, ahead of such luminaries as Derek Randall, Clive Rice and Chris Read.
His Notts career spanned 1978 to 1987, but his Test career continued to 1990, by which time he held the Test world record of 431 wickets. He was knighted for his services to cricket during his final Test tour to England.
Since the reduction in First-Class games in 1969, only two players have achieved the all-rounder’s double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets...in 1984 Hadlee scored 1,179 runs and took 117 wickets. The second, just four seasons later was another great Notts import, Franklyn Stephenson.
He played five Tests at Trent Bridge, scoring two fifties (top score 92no) and taking 24 wickets at 27.04 with best figures of 6-80. That 92 was made in the second innings of the 1983 Trent Bridge Test in which Ian Botham his the first six of any Eng v NZ Test at the ground. He hit two more; Gatting and, rather more unlikely, Norman Cowans hit one apiece. John Bracewell, a member of another Kiwi cricket dynasty, hit NZ’s first Trent Bridge Test six in that same game – batting, as was Cowans, at number 11. John Bracewell’s nephew Michael made his Test debut in the 2022 match.
Hadlee was still in the visiting side in 1986 and took the Man-of-the-Match award with match figures of 10-140 (one of nine times he took ten or more in a Test) and a first innings 68 as New Zealand wrapped up a comprehensive eight-wicket win. Sir Richard’s was not the only noteworthy bowling, however.
David Gower (who bowled in only two Tests) took what was to be the last over and with New Zealand needing one to win, deliberately threw the ball and was promptly no-balled!
Donald Carr, secretary of the MCC at the time, ruled that Martin Crowe should be allowed to count the boundary that his hit from that delivery even though, technically, the game was done once the ‘no ball’ call was made. This was the Black Caps’ first (and thus far only) Test victory at Trent Bridge.
In 1994, the roles were reversed and it was England that won easily – thanks in great part to a superb 210 made by Graham Gooch. This was Gooch’s highest score at Trent Bridge and remains the only Test double hundred made in England v New3 Zealand Tests on the ground.
The most recent Test between the two nations was in 2008 when England’s great opening bowlers made what were then their top test scores (both beaten later) with Jimmy Anderson making 21 and Stuart Broad making 64. Anderson also took seven wickets in the NZ first innings to clinch Man-of-the-Match and Ryan Sidebottom (at that time a Notts player) took six in the second innings. The match was another innings victory for England.