Matches were arranged home and away with Sussex for 1837. A public meeting was held at the Poultry Hotel in Nottingham on 24 May to calculate the expenses involved in playing the matches. ‘A highly respectable committee with power to add to their number was nominated to collect the necessary subscriptions and it was also agreed to apply by letter to the patrons of this manly exercise among the nobility and gentry of the county.’

William Clarke was among those chosen to go to Brighton for a match played on 24, 25 and 26 July, but his wife was seriously ill and when the match was played his place was taken by John Gibson. Clarke’s absence seriously weakened Nottingham who, after being put in, made 71 all out, George Jarvis 24. Sussex replied with 50 all out with Sam Redgate taking six wickets. Joe Guy made his debut in this match, played on the Royal New Ground. ‘When in his prime, no player ever gave the full front of his bat with more pluck and effect to the smashers of Mr Alfred Mynn and the wakers-up of Mr Harvey Fellows, at a time too when grounds were rougher than they now are, than Joseph Guy’, so a newspaper critic summed up Guy in the 1870s. His score of 21 was the best in Nottingham’s second innings and nearly half the total of 54 all out. Guy was essentially a front foot batsman and regarded by contemporaries as second only to Fuller Pilch, though it was noted that on some occasions he preferred to lose his wicket rather than to play an ugly stroke. ‘Fit to play in Her Majesty’s Drawing Room’ was Clarke’s description. Guy was very unassuming and generally wore a smile that was bland and almost childlike. He retired to keep the Carpenter’s Arms in Mansfield Road and his great friend was Tom Barker, who spent much of his time in that hostelry. Sussex beat Nottingham by 3 wickets having successfully chased the 76 required for victory.

The Nottingham team immediately travelled to Town Malling to play Kent; losing in two days. Nottingham batted first and made 64 (William Garrat 23); Kent replied with 104. In the second innings, Guy was the highest scorer with 28 for Nottingham as they made 84 but Kent with Felix, Dorrinton, Pilch and Wenham, were the winners by nine wickets. There was no return game with Kent, but Sussex visited the Forest in late August. With Clarke included, the match began quite sensationally, Sussex losing their first four wickets without a run being scored – Tom Barker bowled three and Redgate one. Six wickets were down with the total scarcely in double figures, James Broadbridge and Tom Box then transformed the innings scoring 77 and 56 respectively. Sussex made 169 and Nottingham made 144 of which Tom Heath made 35 in 125 minutes. Sussex were all out 78 in their second innings. Rain prevented play on the third day and on the fourth Nottingham required 104 to win, but only Garrat stood firm, batting two hours for his 39 as Notts made 80 all out, so Sussex won by 23 runs.

Three defeats in the three major matches seems to have discouraged the Committee for both 1838 and 1839 were blank years so far as inter-county matches involving Nottingham were concerned. It is interesting to note that whilst the Nottingham v Sussex match was in progress, the English residents of Calais and Basville in France staged a match ‘Married v Single’, the players being nearly all Nottingham men and including John Hewitt of Beeston, the brother of William.    

October 2020