Thomas Davis was born in Nottingham in November 1827 though he resided in Sneinton (which was then not part of Nottingham) where he was employed initially as a copper-plate printer but then worked for a relative as a tinner and brazier.

A hard-hitting batsman, he was enthusiastic fielder, being adept at gathering the ball and returning with a single action to the keeper. It was said that when he missed a catch, he asked to receive corporal punishment and was not satisfied until he had had several hearty applications with a bat.

His first Notts game was against England at Lord’s in  1854 and he appeared in 12 County matches, the last being in 1865. Apart from his batting and fielding he could also bowl medium pace round arm with a very peculiar action, his arm being hidden behind his back until the last possible moment.

From 1850 to 1869 he had regular professional engagement but did not remain in any post very long until in 1865 he went to Dublin, being there five seasons. His most illustrious innings was that of 72 v Surrey at Trent Bridge in 1860, when a collection realised the then enormous sum of £25.

In his later years Davis was employed by the Town Corporation as superintendent of the Forest Recreation Ground. He was known by the nickname ‘Oily’, but its origin is obscure. Thomas Davis died in Nottingham in May 1898.

April 2020