Robert Gibson was the younger of two cricketing brothers, the other being John Gibson, that played in local club matches; each of them had a brief First-Class career.
Robert, born in Nottingham on 16 March 1821, was a good, strong round-arm bowler but a poor bat who first appears in the annals with the village XI of Hyson Green in 1840. The absence of initials in many local reports of the time mean that it is not possible to be accurate as to which Gibson – Robert or John – was in which game.
It is known that Robert played in six First-Class matches, three for Nottinghamshire: v England at Trent Bridge in August 1855; v Surrey at The Oval in 1858 and v Yorkshire and Durham at Stockton-on-Tees, also in 1858. He faced Surrey twice in that year, the second occasion playing for the North, a fixture he also played in 1857. Gibson’s other First-Class outing was for the All England Eleven v the United England Eleven, at Lord’s. In those six games he scored 70 runs at 10.00 with a top score of 17 and took 11 wickets at 21.00 with a best return of 4-29, against Surrey.
He also played against the All England Eleven on a number of occasions and once, for EW Vyse’s Team (XXII) took the wicket of one Julius Caesar! The Surrey batsman was a regular opponent of Gibson but this seems to have been the only occasion when the bowler conquered the batsman.
His engagements are not readily available but Gibson is known to have been at Holkham with the Earl of Leicester in 1851 and at Oxford between 1856-58 though he is not thought to have re-located. The Nottingham Journal of April 1875 says of him “Still lives in Nottingham where he is famed for his conversational and card-playing powers”; perhaps it was this conviviality that earned him his place in so many teams as the records do not suggest his playing alone merited inclusion.
Robert Gibson, a cordwainer by trade, died in Old Radford on 25 September 1875. It is possible that he and John were nephews of another Robert Gibson who played once for the Nottingham town club.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 81