For 1840 three inter-county fixtures were arranged exactly as in 1837 – home and away with Sussex and away with Kent. On 8 June 1840 a trial match, Gentlemen v Players was staged at Trent Bridge, the game ending in a tie, 87 each, after which a team was chosen to go south to oppose Sussex and Kent, a week later.
The Nottingham team travelled to the Royal New Ground in Brighton and were beaten by Sussex in two days by an innings and 59 runs. Thomas Box top scored with 73 as Sussex made 225. Notts made 104 (William Garrat 35) and, following-on, 62. Two days later the Kent contest started at Town Malling. Kent won the toss and decided to bat and made 88 with four wickets for Sam Redgate. Notts replied with 203, Joe Guy leading the way with 73 not out. William Clarke picked up nine wickets as Kent was bowled out for 120, Fuller Pilch scoring 63. Notts needing six to win won the contest by 10 wickets.
Perhaps owing to the expenses involved in the journey south, the Notts side included several amateurs who had not previously played for the first eleven. Thomas Redgate, who made his debut in the Sussex match, was a 30-year-old solicitor with a practice in Clumber Street, Nottingham. A useful all-round cricketer, he moved to Scarthing Moor and opened offices in Newark and Tuxford in the 1850s. Another debutant was Thomas Charlton of Chilwell Hall, whose father, also a keen cricketer, had been High Sheriff of the County. Charlton seems to have owed his place in the team more to his financial support than his cricket prowess. Edwin Patchitt was another solicitor who played in the match against Sussex. A fast bowler with a high action, which was pronounced illegal by some umpires, he achieved little in top-class cricket. A fourth new player was fast bowler Charles Creswell.
Sussex travelled up to Nottingham for the return on 27 and 28 July and this match was the first inter-county match to be staged at Trent Bridge. Sussex made 115 with Tom Barker taking five wickets. Clarke appropriately opened the batting and made the highest score in Notts first innings, but it was a modest 17 out of 85. Clarke took six wickets as Sussex were 73 all out. Notts needing 104 to win lost by 14 runs being bowled out for 89, William Lillywhite with a five wicket haul. A big practical joker, Sam Parr, elder brother of the more renowned George, made his first appearance for Notts.