Against Somerset at Trent Bridge on 3 June 1893, Frank Shacklock became the first cricketer to take four wickets in four successive deliveries for Nottinghamshire in a championship match.

All four batsmen were shown as bowled Shacklock; the first and third, R P Spurway and W Trask, were bowled off their pads, whilst the second, A E Newton, played on, the fourth man to go was J A Gibbs.

A right-arm fast bowler, Shacklock was born in Crich, Derbyshire, on 22 September 1861 but his parents were from Kirkby-in-Ashfield and had moved to Derby shortly before Frank’s birth; the family returned to Nottinghamshire in 1867, so that Frank qualified as a Nottinghamshire cricketer.

Shacklock appeared in a Nottinghamshire Colts match in 1883 and, in the same year, for the Colts of North v Colts of South at Lord’s. In 1883, he took all 11 wickets in an innings for Lasswade XII v Edinburgh University XII and all 10 wickets for Lasswade v Loretto. His First-Class debut came for Nottinghamshire v MCC in September that year but in 1884 he left Nottinghamshire and made his debut for Derbyshire v Lancashire at Old Trafford in May.

His career with Derbyshire XI lasted two seasons during which his best bowling performance was 39-18-45-8 and 45-13-97-5 v Yorkshire at Derby in 1885 and his highest score was 50 in 2½ hours v Yorkshire at Bradford in 1884.

In 1886 he changed his allegiance back to Nottinghamshire and immediately gained a permanent position in the XI. His desertion of Derbyshire caused  a great deal of criticism and in no small measure was the prime factor in that county being removed from the first-class list a year later.

During 1886 and 1887 Shacklock showed moderate all-round form, but in 1888 he fell away to such an extend that he lost his place in the side. For Nottinghamshire he took 360 wickets at an average of 18.74 and a best performance of 8 for 32. After 1889 Shacklock played for the MCC against the universities and also for sides selected by Nottinghamshire wicketkeeper Mordecai Sherwin

Frank Shacklock continued to feature in the Nottinghamshire side until 1893, his last contest being v Kent at Canterbury in August, after which the Nottinghamshire Committee suspended him for indiscipline.

Emigrating to New Zealand, Shacklock was coach to Otago and Wanganui College and in 1910 became coach to Auckland C.C.  In 1909 in New Zealand he hit 162* out of 190 in 80 minutes.

Frank Shacklock died in Christchurch, New Zealand on 3 May 1937.

His lasting claim to fame may lie not in his cricketing prowess but in the legend that the name of Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous character, Sherlock Holmes, is said to have been inspired by the combination of Shacklock and Sherwin. His fellow fast bowler at Derbyshire was William Mycroft and the pair Shacklock and Mycroft played a match against MCC at Lord's in June 1885. Conan Doyle, who was an active MCC member  and has ten First-Class matches and the proud boast of having dismissed W G Grace to his name, published his first Sherlock Holmes story two years later. Holmes' brother in the stories was named Mycroft.

April 2020