In 1835, the Nottingham club sent a challenge for a match £50-a-side against Sussex at Brighton. Sussex had played England home and away for each of the previous three seasons and, though now below the strength they had achieved in the late 1820s, the county was still formidable and second only to Kent. The Nottingham Club won the Brighton match played on 27, 28 and 29 August by two wickets, due to the bowling of Sam Redgate and Tom Barker, for not one of the four innings reached three figures. Nottingham finished their second innings on 87-8, George Jarvis top scoring with 21.

Sussex came up to Nottingham the following week, with match being played on the Forest. William Howitt in ‘Rural Life of England’ painted the scene:

‘On Sunday morning early we saw a crowd going up the street and immediately perceived that in the centre of it were the Sussex cricketers, just arrived by the London coach, and going to an inn kept by one of the Nottinghamshire cricketers. They looked exceedingly interesting, being a fine set of fellows, in their white hats, and with all their trunks, carpet-bags and cloaks, coming, as we verily believed, to be beaten. Our interest was strongly excited and on Monday morning we set off to the cricket ground, which lies about a mile from the Town, on the Forest, as it is called, though not a tree is left upon it – a long furzy common, crowned on the top by about twenty windmills, and descending in a steep slope to a fine level, round which the racecourse runs. Within the racecourse lies the cricket ground, which was enclosed at each end with booths and all up the Forest hill were scattered booths and tents, with flags flying, fires burning, pots boiling, ale barrels standing, and asses, carts and people bringing still more good things. There were plenty of apple and ginger-beer stalls, and lads going round with nuts and waggish looks crying “Nuts, lads! Nuts, lads!” In little hollows the nine-pin and will-peg men had fixed themselves, to occupy loiterers and, in short, there was all the appearance of a fair. Standing at the farther side of the cricket-ground, it gave me the most vivid idea possible of an amphitheatre filled with people. There were said to be twenty thousand people, all hushed as death, except when some exploit of the players produced a thunder of applause. The playing was beautiful. Mr Ward, later Member of Parliament for London, a great cricket player, came from the Isle of Wight to see the game, and declared himself highly delighted. But nothing was so beautiful as the sudden shout, the rush, the breaking up of the crowd when the decisive notch was gained. To see the bat of Bart Good, the batsman on whom the fate of the game depended, spinning up in the air, where he sent it in the ecstasy of the moment, and the crowd, that before was fixed and silent as the world itself, spreading all over the green space where the white figures of the players had till then been so gravely and, apparently, calmly contending – spreading with a murmur as of the sea, and over their heads, amid the deafening clamour and confusion, the carrier pigeon, with a red ribbon tied to its tail, the signal of loss, beating round and round to ascertain its precise position, and then flying off to bear the tidings to Brighton – it was a beautiful sight, and one that the most sedate person must have delighted to see’.

Nottingham won this second match by three wickets, with Bart Good being 20 not out, though the Nottingham second innings total was only 60-7. The match had begun at 11:50 on Monday and at 4:17 Sussex were bowled out for 98 (Redgate 4-31, Barker 4-42). Scoring was in those days very slow – James Broadbridge had spent 2 hours 17 minutes on his 19 not out. When stumps were drawn at 6:00, Nottingham were 31-5. Rain prevented any play on the Tuesday, but on Wednesday play began early – at 9:40 and at 11:45 Nottingham were dismissed for 81 (Good 21). There was a long adjournment, but Sussex started their second innings at 2:10 and were bowled out in less than two hours for 42. Barker’s bowling was quite excellent, but Redgate not so straight. Good and Jarvis (14) took the batting laurels.   

October 2020