Alfred Brooks was, as were so many cricketers of that era, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, having been born there on 24 March 1848; unlike many of his contemporaries, he was not a miner but worked as an ironmonger.
He played for the XXII Colts v Nottinghamshire in 1874 and two years later was in the Nottinghamshire Colts side to play Yorkshire Colts. In the repeat fixture of 1877, Brooks was the best Notts bowler with 8-58 in the match. His First-Class start was equally promising with the ball – in two matches against Surrey (home and away) he took 5-85; his batting was rather less impressive, scores of 6,3,1no and 0. These transpired to be his only First-Class matches though he did later play seven times for Somerset.
His professional engagements were many, ranging from Chigwell Grammar School, to Uxbridge, Castleton, Oxford, Dorset, Holbeck and Huyton. Whist with Castleton he played against perhaps the most anonymous side he, or any professional might encounter – on the scorecard appearing simply as ‘An Eleven’.
Rather more illustrious opponents lined up in Brooks’s one game for Dudley – the 1878 Australian tourists. His batting was typical, 5 and 1, but he bowled well, taking six wickets across the two Australian innings, including Jack Blackham, who had kept wicket in the first-ever Test match the previous year, and Billy Murdoch, perhaps the first of the many great Australian batsmen – and one of the few people to play test cricket for two nations, having one Test for England.
Alfred James Brooks, whose First-Class figures were 10 runs for an average of 3.33 and two wickets for 85 runs, died in his home town on 20 November 1911.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 157