Born in Keyworth on 24 July 1858, Matthew William Wright had a trial in the Notts Colts match of 1885 and in spite of comparative failure was chosen for Notts Colts v Yorkshire Colts in the same season, scoring a promising 58. Nothing was seen of him for four seasons until April 1889 when, in the absence of Barnes and Flowers, he played for Notts versus XXII Colts; rain curtailed play and he neither batted nor bowled. His only First-Class match was for Notts v MCC at Lord’s on 23 and 24 May 1889, when he scored 0 and 6 and bowled 5-2-7-0. Wright’s association with Notts cricket ended after his appearance for the Next XVI v Notts in September 1890.
In 1891, Mat Wright began his 22 years’ service with the Buckinghamshire XI. He played 143 Minor Counties Championship fixtures for Bucks over 19 seasons, starting in 1895, scoring 4,763 runs @22.25 and taking 812 wickets @14.31. His best season with the bat was in 1899 when he scored 535 @48.63, the highest of four hundreds was 148 versus Hertfordshire at Aylesbury in 1900. He took 72 wickets @13.69 in 1904 and on 19 occasions took five wickets in an innings, with best figures of 8-27 versus Carmarthenshire at Llanelli in 1911. At Lakenham in 1904 he took a hat-trick against Norfolk.
Mat Wright’s started his cricket with Keyworth CC and scored their first ever First XI century against Dalby and District in September 1886. His professional engagements were as follows: Nottingham Commercial (1883), Downside College (1884) and Eton College (1885-1936) and also for some years he was a practice at bowler. During his many years at Eton he was coach, groundsman and had his own cricketing shop.
The Conservative Prime Minister Lord Home in his autobiography recalled Mat Wright from his days as an Eton schoolboy as ‘canny’ and a stickler for proper cricket, saying on one occasion, “For God’s sake sir, if you must miss – do it in style”!
Commencing in 1932 he was a councillor for the Royal Borough of Windsor. Mat Wright married late in life and was in his 70s when his first child, Mary, was born. He died at the age of 90 at Windsor on 13 May 1949. He was related to the Attewell family of Keyworth; his great-aunt was William Attewell's grandmother, which makes the two Notts cricketers distant cousins.
Acknowledgement to The Provost and Fellows of Eton College for the photograph
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 208