Samuel Biddulph is described by A K Sutton as 'the noted stumper for the County XI and for quickness of sight, execution and indomitable courage, perhaps stands second to few in the cricketing world.
'He receives the ball from the field most masterly and no matter at what speed if well put in, and the chance is there, he is safe of putting down the stumps with an effect the most electric.’
The Nottingham Review in 1866 commented: ‘There is perhaps no player more popular in the Notts Eleven than Sam Biddulph; few, if any, in England can surpass his wicket-keeping and he is certainly unequalled in the graceful attitude he shews in this position.’
Biddulph was born in Hyson Green on 23 December 1840 and first appears for the Hyson Green Club in 1858.
He played for Next XXII v Notts in 1861 and the following April was drafted into the full Notts side v XXII Colts. From then on, apart from a short break in 1872, Biddulph was a regular member of the County side. In addition he was taken on the MCC Groundstaff in 1863.
In all, he played 176 First-Class games, scoring 2,287 runs at 9.52 with a top score of 60, one of two half-centuries; he took 164 catches and what is, by today's standards, a remarkable tally of 124 stumpings
During the winter months he was a ‘butty’ to his county colleague Tom Bignall – that is a co-worker at the same lace machine. At that time the machines were kept going day and night and operators swopped and swopped about. When not at work, Bignall and Biddulph were inseparable pals and spent much of their time fishing together on the Trent side, with ‘one of Charley Brown’s smokes in full glow to warm their noses.’
Apart from his wicket-keeping, Biddulph is described as ‘a merry batsman against moderate bowling.’ His last match for Notts was v Middlesex at Princes in July 1875, after which he was taken ill and died of kidney disease on 7 March 1876, aged 35.
He is buried in the General Cemetery. A benefit match was played for his widow and children at Trent Bridge on 15-16 September 1876, when Notts played MCC, each player gave his services free of charge.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 93