George Wootton, a man of a quiet, retiring disposition, seems to have had to be persuaded to play in first-class cricket.
He took a professional engagement at Rochdale in 1860 – he was born in Clifton on October 16th, 1834 – and in the following year was picked to play for Nottinghamshire against XXII Colts at Trent Bridge and then for XI Colts of England v MCC at Lord’s.
In the latter match he was the most successful of the bowlers; Wootton bowled medium-fast left-arm ‘of a good length with twist’.
So much was thought of his bowling that he played in all but four of Notts matches in the ten seasons 1861 to 1870. In 1862 he joined the MCC Groundstaff at Lord’s and was the leading MCC bowler over the next decade, though his most famous feat was for the All England Eleven at Bramall Lane in 1865, when he captured all ten wickets in Yorkshire’s second innings, Wootton’s final analysis being 31.3-9-54-10.
His final Notts game was v Surrey at Trent Bridge in July, 1871, following which he decided he was no longer good enough for the county side, despite being told the opposite by his colleagues. He remained on the MCC staff until 1873, when a match for his Benefit realised about £300. He umpired in first-class matches until 1883, but commented: ‘It is a very thankless office and I soon gave it up, I liked umpiring very well, but if you make a mistake everyone is digging at you. I could not stand that sort of thing.’
Originally a butcher by trade, Wootton took the tenancy of a farm in Ruddington. He continued to coach youngsters at the village Club until late in life as well as being a frequent spectator at Trent Bridge. About 1900 his son-in-law took over the running of the farm.
He died in Ruddington in June 1924 aged 89, but is buried in Clifton churchyard.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 90