Champion County – W 3, L 1
Captain – W Clarke
The principal newspaper covering the cricket scene in 1853 (Bell’s Life) credited Notts with the title of Champion County. The accolade was awarded for defeating the Rest of England at Lord’s and beating both Surrey and Sussex. George Parr dominated the batting, scoring 216 runs @36.00, the next highest run scorer was Cris Tinley with 77 runs @12.83. The fast round-arm bowler John Bickley (34 wickets @5.82) topped the bowling averages and he was well supported by Frank Tinley (15 wickets @7.60), James Grundy (10 wickets @10.20) and William Clarke (14 wickets @11.64). The organiser of the team and secretary of the club was Charley Brown, who was also the wicket-keeper (9 catches, 1 stumping). William Clarke, now in his middle fifties, led the County side. He was coming to the end of a long career, which had begun in 1817. Joe Guy (42 runs @7.00), the elegant batsman of the early years, was another veteran whose career was coming to a close.
The success which attended the 1852 matches led to four games being arranged for 1853. The first was at Lord’s on 16, 17 and 18 May against the Rest of England and was won by 27 runs. Notts batted first and made 63. Clarke then took 6-54 as England led by 54 runs after the first innings. George Parr scored 49 – his leg-hits being brilliant - as Notts totalled 129 with James Dean of Sussex taking 5-28. England needed 76 but Bickley took 8-23 to dismiss England for 48. At one period of the match old Clarke sent down 16 successive maidens.
Notts did not play again until the end of August when Sussex were beaten in two days by an innings and eight runs at the Royal Brunswick Ground in Hove. Sussex decided to bat and made 68 (Clarke 6-37, Bickley 4-28). Parr dominated again scoring 46 in Notts’ 136 all out. Sussex were bowled out for 60 in their second innings with Bickley taking 6-16. Sussex were successful in the Trent Bridge meeting, played a week later. Capt Holden, later the Notts Honorary Secretary, played in emergency for Sussex and was leg before to Bickley for 0 – a very dubious decision according to the Captain. George Parr top scored with 36 as Notts were bowled out for 100. Sussex replied with 98 (George Picknell 40, Bickley 5-39, Frank Tinley 4-15). Notts could only muster 69 with John Wisden the chief destroyer with 5-36. Sussex successfully chased their target, finishing on 72 for 7, winning by three wickets. Notts travelled immediately to the Oval and a victory was achieved against Surrey by an innings and 12 runs. Surrey, batting first, made 68 all out (Frank Tinley 6-29 and Bickley 4-26). Despite William Martingell taking 8-37, Notts took a first innings lead of 93, George Parr made 53 not out, despite a bad finger, and Cris Tinley contributed 39. Surrey were 81 all out in their second innings with Bickley (5-28) and Grundy (5-35) sharing the wickets.
Lillywhite’s Annual comments on Notts in 1853: “The County matches are played upon the Trent Bridge Ground, Nottingham, which on such occasions especially is in reality a “Cricket Ground”. The committee are a body of influential gentlemen, and are very liberal towards the players of the county – hence its fame for the game. It ranks among the first of the cricketing counties and last season conquered a very powerful eleven of England at Lord’s. The Hon. Sec. is C.Thornton Esq. and the office of Treasurer is fulfilled by J.Johnson, Esq., an ardent supporter and lover of the game’.