Two matches were organised against the resuscitated Hampshire team in 1843. The first, at Trent Bridge at the end of June, proved a bit of a farce, with Hampshire arriving without a full team and local amateur Mr J Hadden of Nottingham having to be co-opted. Hampshire batting first scored 76. Francis Noyes hit 50 as Notts replied with 152. Hampshire was bowled out for 57 in their second innings as Notts won by an innings and 19 runs. Included in the Notts team was Jonas Warwick, a country doctor from Southwell. The wily Warwick took a leading part in the formation of the Gentlemen of Notts Club which was based in Southwell and was both a useful batsman and wicket-keeper. The Rev Henry Maltby also appeared. According to a note in the press, he was a ‘feeble bat and poor bowler and rumour has it he was indebted to a douceur to old Clarke for his appearances’.
In mid July the return with Hampshire at Antelope Ground at Southampton produced the oddity of Noyes batting twice in each innings, due to the absence of Tom Barker. En route to the fixture and whilst on the cab journey between the two London Railway termini, the horse bolted and Barker jumped out of the moving cab and so badly broke his leg that he rarely played again. Notts scored 209 (Joe Guy 46, Charles Creswell 43, Sam Redgate 41) and Hampshire replied 131 with five wickets for Redgate. Sir Frederick Hervey-Bathurst took seven wickets as Notts made 78 in their second innings. Notts won the contest by 39 runs as Hampshire were bowled out for 117, Redgate with six wickets and William Clarke with four wickets being the destroyers.
On the return journey from Southampton, Notts stopped at Lord’s to face the MCC, the first time since 1791 that Nottingham(shire) had played MCC on even terms. George Butler came down from Nottingham to reinforce the team and his second innings score of 40 turned out to be the highest innings of the match by a Notts batsman, this however did not prevent the MCC winning by 57 runs. The final scorecard was MCC 65 & 123; Notts 61 & 70. William Lillywhite took 14 wickets in the match for the victors against 11 MCC wickets for William Clarke. As a result of his innings at Lord’s, Butler was given a place in the Players v Gentlemen match the following week, but achieved little.
Nottingham managed to beat MCC when the premier club came to Trent Bridge a month later. Clarke (first innings) and Charley Brown (second innings) both hit 24 in a low scoring game, which was won by 25 runs. Notts 90 (William Hillyer 6-38) & 76 (James Dean 9-34); MCC 73 (Clarke 6-30) & 68 (Clarke 7-28). Brown began his county career in 1843 – he scored 107 for Nottingham v Sheffield in July and this no doubt prompted Clarke to include him in the county side. Brown was best known as a wicket-keeper, though some reporters stated he was a little too sharp in that position, tending to adjust the bails when the ball just missed the wicket. He had an extraordinary knack of delivering the ball from behind his back when bowling and being very accurate with such deliveries. His major defect was his excitability, but he was very popular with the spectators.
The other match of 1843 was arranged for William Clarke’s benefit on 18 19 and 20 September at Trent Bridge and the opposing side were Sussex. Batting first ‘The County of Nottingham’ made 326, by far the highest total yet recorded by Notts in inter-county games. The best individual innings was from John Gilbert, a lace-maker from Mansfield, who came into the team as a last minute replacement for Sam Parr. Gilbert made 91, a performance he never again remotely approached, and with William Clarke’s step-son, John Chapman (41), added 96 for the seventh wicket. One of the Sussex team later said that Gilbert played the bowling as easily as shelling peas and quite astonished both the Sussex side – and his own. Sussex were then bowled out for 33 (Clarke 7-17) and it looked certain that the game would be completed within two days. To Clarke’s relief, Charles Hammond (92) and Charles Hawkins (95) created another record with a fourth wicket partnership of 156 and prolonged the match as Sussex were bowled out for 262; Notts winning by an innings and 31 runs as Clarke took another five wickets in the second innings.
Scorecards and stats can be seen here