The season began with a row over the composition of the North of England team to play MCC at Lord’s. The team published in the press the week prior to the match read: Mr TB Charlton, Mr Creswell, Mr Noyes, Mr Patchitt, Mr Foxcroft, Barker, Clarke, Redgate, Oscroft, Guy, Brown and Butler. Everyone was a Nottingham man. The MCC objected and only five of the named cricketers took part in the actual match. William Clarke wrote bitterly complaining, stating that the Nottingham team alone were quite good enough to beat MCC, in fact he went on to challenge the Rest of England naming the sum of 100 sovereigns-a-side. Fuller Pilch responded to the challenge and the great match took place at Trent Bridge on 22, 23 and 24 August. Clarke with scores of 18 and 26 was the best Notts batsman as the home totalled 122 and 110, but the county was outplayed by Fuller Pilch (60) and Alfred Mynn (61) as England scored 228. The bowling of Sam Redgate and Tom Barker proved ineffectual, William Clarke picked up 7-98 but England needed just five runs in their second innings to win the match by 10 wickets. Clarke’s stepson, John Chapman, made his Notts debut in this game. The match with Sheffield was revived in 1842, but the Yorkshire side were no longer strong enough to cause Nottingham much anguish and both matches resulted in easy victories. The first brought new players to the attention of the public.

Charles ‘Mad Charley’ Brown, a stout, strongly built man, was a dyer and cleaner by trade, carrying on his business in a little den on the left-hand side of Farmer’s Yard, off the Market Place. Being good-natured, humorous and full of anecdote, his shop was usually a place to drop in for a chat. He was an attacking batsman, being very severe on slow bowlers, but owed his place to his wicket-keeping, though some batsmen thought him a little too sharp – he was liable to flick off the bails and claim that the ball had disturbed them. He had a peculiar trick of jerking or bowling the ball from behind his back and achieving quite astonishing accuracy by using this odd form of delivery. Brown scored 65 in the first Sheffield game of 1842 and the following season hit his only hundred – 107 - against the same opponents.

Francis Noyes, a wine merchant in Nottingham, was other noted debutant of 1842. He was a great amateur enthusiast and practised regularly to perfect his batting style. To cure a habit he had of lifting his right leg when playing the ball, he had a terrible of fear being stumped, Noyes chained the offending leg to a log of wood. ‘He is the beau ideal, his position, straight style of batting and hard hitting being rarely equalled except by first-rate players’, noted one report. He made some useful scores for Nottingham but seems to have the left the county in 1845 and is later found playing for the Surrey club.

October 2020