Thomas Bignall was born in Chilwell on January 8, 1842, but moved to Lenton with his parents whilst still a boy and then to Radford as a young man. His first published game was for Hyson Green in 1858.
He played in the XXII Colts side for three seasons, 1861, 1862 and 1863 and finally obtained his place in the Nottinghamshire team v Yorkshie at Trent Bridge that season. He seemed to have secured his place in the County side, but after missing some games in 1866, was omitted altogether in 1867 and all of 1868 bar the final match, when he hit 30 not out and 97.
He had been on the MCC Staff in 1863 and 1864, but in 1865 joined the All England Eleven. The following year he switched to the United Eleven, remaining with that wandering side until 1869. From 1869 to 1874 he had regular place in the Notts side, but in 1874 it is commented that ‘it is a pity he has got so stout and so assigned to long-stop duties’.
After an absence of four years, from 1874, Bignall was recruited for one final match v Surrey at The Oval in August 1878, when Daft was unable to turn out. A fine, free, powerful batsman, Bignall usually opened the innings. In 1869 he became the fifth Notts player to record a century in a county match, hitting 116 not out v Kent at Tonbridge. He was an occasional fast round-arm bowler.
He ‘dropped dead at his place of work’ on September 19, 1898. Bignall was the 100th cricketer to represent Nottinghamshire in major matches from 1826.