A good wicket-keeper but only a moderate batsman, James Stapleton earned his first trial for Nottinghamshire in 1899 on the back of performances for Eastwood CC and, latterly, Nottingham Castle. He played against the MCC at Lord’s in July that year but was not accorded another game by the county until 1906 – perhaps not surprising given that he gave away 56 byes and leg byes in the MCC innings!
Stapleton never commanded a regular place in the first XI, playing just 10 games over five seasons; his last First-Class game was v Essex at Leyton in August 1911. He initially joined Notts in 1903 but stayed just one season without making the first team. Stapleton returned to Trent Bridge in 1906, playing for the Club and Ground team on several occasions and once, though quite how he qualified is not explained, for the Players of Glamorgan against the Gentlemen of that same county, in which he made 31, his highest recorded score. In his First-Class matches, he scored 152 runs at 11.69 and a top score of 21; he took 22 catches and made three stumpings.
James Stapleton was born in Eastwood on 8 August 1880 and played centre-half for the local football team whilst employed at Moor Green Colliery. He lived most of his life in Brinsley and died there on 10 July 1944.