Born in Eastwood on August 9th, 1875, Thomas William Oates began his cricket career with Eastwood Collieries CC.
In April 1896 he was chosen for the XXII Colts v Nottinghamshire and later appeared for J.A. Dixon's Colts XI v Nottingham Castle and Nottinghamshire Colts v Yorkshire Colts, in early May 1896.
His debut for Nottinghamshire was at Northampton in May 1896 when he scored 21*, though his forte was in fact wicket-keeping. His only other Nottinghamshire match of 1896 was another minor affair v Worksop & District on August 31.
He began the 1897 season as one of the original members of the Nottinghamshire team to play Gloucestershire at Cheltenham in August, when he deputised for Arthur Pike.
In face of competition from Pike and Carlin, Oates did not secure his place in the Nottinghamshire XI until 1902. Tom Oates generally batted at Number 8 or 9 for Nottinghamshire and could be relied on for a few quick runs on most occasions - in most seasons he registered at least one 50 (top score nof 88).
In 1919 he actually had a batting average of 30.76 and in 1911 of 20.66. Oates continued to represent Nottinghamshire until nearly 50 years of age and his final first-class match was for Nottinghamshire v Leicestershire at Leicester in June 1925. He held the Nottinghamshire record for dismissals (967: 744 catches and 223 stumpings) until it was broken by Chris Read in 2017
Between 1899 and 1926 Oates was engaged on the Lord's staff and from 1927 to 1938 he was a member of the first-class umpires list and stood in five Test matches in 1928, 1929 and 1930.
In 1939 and part of 1940 he was the Nottinghamshire scorer, resigning through ill-health.
A miner by occupation, Oates always resided in Eastwood where he died on 18 June, 1949.