Born in Norton, Yorkshire, on 5 March 5 1876, Jimmy Iremonger moved to Wilford in early childhood. He won the prize bat for the highest score by a Colt in the Colts match of April 1897 with a score of 25 and then played v Yorkshire Colts in May of the same year.
The following month came his debut for Nottinghamshire v Staffordshire at Stoke in June, but he failed to score and was not given a bowl; he did, however, receive a further trial v Northamptonshire in July but again with little success.
During 1898 he made a second appearance v Staffordshire and played against Durham at Darlington and versus Worcestershire. In these two latter matches his bowling was a distinct asset, as he returned first innings figures of 11-4-23-5 and 25-8-59-9 respectively.
His First-Class debut match was Nottinghamshire v Lancashire on 8 May 1899 but after a few games he lost his first team place. Much improved form in some preliminary matches in 1900 enabled him to re-establish his claim and he continued to represent Nottinghamshire until war interrupted play in 1914.
Iremonger’s cricket career divides into two phases. Until 1907 he was employed as a batsman pure and simple and for most of that time opened the Nottinghamshire innings with Arthur Jones. Starting in 1908, his talents as a bowler became of paramount importance to the County side and he opened the batting less and less often.
In the four consecutive seasons - 1903, 1904, 1905 and 1906 - Iremonger came out on top of the Nottinghamshire First-Class averages. In the first of those he was named among the Wisden Cricketers of the Year. In all First-Class matches in 1904 he scored 1,983 runs and stood fifth in the season’s national averages – being, incidentally, below his opening partner Jones.
It was not until Iremonger had been in First-Class cricket for ten seasons that he captured 50 wickets in a summer or took five wickets in an innings. A very occasional bowler, he was suddenly called upon to fill the gap left by Hallam’s startling eclipse and John Gunn’s injury. Iremonger’s medium-fast bowling relied mainly on a nagging length and swerve in the air.
It is curious to note that in 1903 Iremonger was Nottinghamshire’s leading bat and John Gunn, the leading bowler, whereas in 1912 the reverse was the case.
Iremonger’s last First-Class cricket was for Nottinghamshire v Leicestershire at Leicester in 1914 when he captained the County side. He remained connected to the club and in 1921 was developing the talents of Harold Larwood and Bill Voce.
James Iremonger was equally at home on the soccer field and played for Nottingham Forest from 1895 to 1910, appearing in 301 league and cup matches for that team, mainly as left full back. He obtained three England soccer caps - against Scotland and Germany in 1901 and Ireland in 1902. After leaving Forest he joined Notts County as player-coach.
James Iremonger died 25 March 1956. His brother Albert was also a noted cricketer and footballer.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 257
One of Jimmy Iremonger's bats is on display in the Long Room; Bat No 26