Joseph Guy, one of three players to make their debut v Sussex at Brighton in 1837, was a man of singularly unassuming manners with a smile that was bland and childlike.
He was a baker by occupation and an upright, scientific batsman, the best in the Notts side for several summers, but he could take the defence of his wicket, at times, to extremes, hardly caring if runs were scored. His ability was recognised by MCC and he played for Players v Gentlemen on 17 occasions.
‘When in his prime, no player ever gave the full front of his bat with more pluck and effect to the smashers of Mr Alfred Mynn and the wakers-up of Mr Harvey Fellows, at a time too when grounds were rougher than they now are, than Joseph Guy’, so a newspaper critic summed up Guy in the 1870s.
Guy was essentially a front foot batsman and regarded by contemporaries as second only to Fuller Pilch, though it was noted that on some occasions he preferred to lose his wicket rather than to play an ugly stroke. ‘Fit to play in Her Majesty’s Drawing Room’ was Clarke’s description. He retired to keep the Carpenter’s Arms in Mansfield Road and his great friend was Tom Barker, who spent much of his time in that hostelry.
When Clarke set up his All England Eleven in 1846, Guy was an automatic choice and though he played for Clarke’s side for ten years, his run-getting in Odds matches was not impressive.
He received £165.9.6d for his benefit in 1856, using the money to purchase the Carpenter’s Arms His new occupation as landlord was, a commentator notes, ‘not conducive to longevity’.
He died at his home in 1873.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 37