George Rothera, born in Nottingham on 12 November 1809 and one of ten children, opened the batting for Nottinghamshire in the first ever inter-county match against Sussex at Brighton in 1837, making 4, and was therefore the first Notts batsman to be dismissed in a county fixture. It was reported that ‘Rothera conducted himself very creditably as a fielder’ and that seems to have been his outstanding contribution to the sides he represented – a Nottingham Mercury report from 1836 saying “….Mills made tremendous hit, which being observed by Rothera in the long field, he calculated the parabolic curve with all the technicality of an engineer, ran backwards at considerable speed and then, making a spring from the ground, he caught the ball with his right hand in a remarkably clever way, eliciting loud applause from all who witnessed it”.
He began his recorded cricket career in 1830 with the Albion Club of Nottingham and, apparently, played in a match in 1832 of Nottingham v Leicester from which the entire First XI of each side had been barred – although no explanation of why is recorded. Later that same year he joined the Nottingham Old Club and was in that side’s first team until ill health prompted an early retirement from the game.
His First-Class games started in 1832 with an away match v Sheffield and he played four matches for Nottingham, four more for Nottinghamshire, and twice for the North in the regular fixture versus the South. In those ten games he scored 75 runs at 7.50 with a top score of 25 and is not recorded as having bowled in any of the matches. He was the 31st player to represent Nottingham in major matches since 1826 and possibly the first amateur.
His last recorded appearance on a cricket field was as umpire in the Nottinghamshire v Sussex match of 1840. He died in Nottingham, the cause believed to be consumption, at just 31 years of age on 31 October 1841.
George Rothera’s nephew, George Bell Rothera, founded the Nottingham legal firm that still carries the name, though the last Rothera to be connected with the company has retired.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 31