Thomas Heath was the first native of Sutton-in-Ashfield (born there in 1806) to represent Nottingham. His forte was fielding, usually at cover-point or mid-wicket.

He was reputed never to have dropped a catch and his throw was considered deadly. He moved early in life to Nottingham and worked as a lacemaker and then a stockiner but latterly he was the gateman at the Trent Bridge Ground.

He was very deaf and eccentric, but considered a bit of a wag. He frequently played in single-wicket matches and challenged a great Sheffield player, Dearman, but the latter batted all through the first day and Heath wrote back to Nottingham that he was in daily expectation of taking Dearman's wicket. Dearman actually scored 107 – Heath replied with 3!

Heath emigrated to France in 1839 and grew so stout that on his return five years later his friends could scarcely recognise him. He rejoined the Nottingham team but with little success. The last of his 18 matches came in 1848.

In 1872 Heath visited his brother in Sutton and was seized with a fit. He lay unconscious for a week before dying. His body was brought back to Nottingham and four Notts cricketers acted as pall-bearers.

December 2020

Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 20

See Thomas Heath's career stats here