Robert Crispin ‘Cris’ Tinley, who made his Notts debut v England in 1847, played in 54 Notts matches, his final major game being in 1869. The youngest of the three cricketing Tinley brothers he was only 16 on his first Notts appearance, being born in Southwell in October 1830.
His potential was spotted by Abram Bass and Tinley was engaged by Bass to play for Burton-on-Trent. He was engaged by Bass until 1853 and this engagement limited his county appearances for that period.
A hard hitting batsman, but not a pure slogger, Tinley began as a fast bowler, but he switched to under-arm bowling in the style of William Clarke and was very successful especially in minor matches. Some of his performances were quite extraordinary. He took all 17 wickets in an innings for England against 18 of Hallam in 1860 and in 1862 took 30 wickets in the England match v 22 of Leeds. His long regular career with Clarke’s England side began in 1854 and finished in 1874.
Richard Daft tells the story of a serious accident which befell Tinley. A batsman hit the ball past Tinley, fielding at point. It was picked up by Daft who hurled it full force back to the wicket, but unfortunately the back of Tinley’s head intervened. Tinley spun round and fell senseless. It appeared that the blow had been fatal, but Daft ends his tale by saying ‘in a few days Tinley was himself again.’
For much of his career Tinley bowled in tandem with Jackson, the most deadly fast bowler of his day and one wonders how many of Tinley’s wickets were due to the relief batsmen felt after surviving a handful of Jackson’s express deliveries on the rough wickets of the 1860s.
Tinley travelled overseas with Parr’s team to Australia in 1863-64 and took more than 250 wickets in 33 innings at a cost of five runs each. Tinley always appeared much older than he really was and thus his agility in the field, usually at point, often surprised the spectators and the opposing batsmen. He had resided in Burton since he moved to the town in 1847 and latterly he kept the Royal Oak Inn, where he died, having been an invalid for some years, in December 1900.