Captain – W Clarke

The wandering England Elevens dominated cricket in 1855, William Clarke’s All England Eleven played 23 matches, including one at Trent Bridge and one at Newark, the rival United All England Eleven played 14 games. Clarke employed eight Notts men in his side; himself, Alfred Clarke, George Parr, Samuel Parr, Joe Guy, John Bickley, John Jackson and Cris Tinley, whilst James Grundy and Tom Nixon travelled with the United. This made any representative Notts matches all but impractical and in fact just one took place, against England at Trent Bridge on 16, 17 and 18 August.

The Nottingham Review however was not happy with Clarke: ‘Although much as we admire the abilities and perseverance of our old townsman, W Clarke, we cannot refrain from saying that it is our opinion, and also the opinion of his best friends, that the match would have looked much better had he taken himself off bowling, for from the nature of the ground (which is truth itself) and the splendid play of Adams and Anderson, it was impossible for him to be successful. Indeed it is a fault of his not to know the exact time when to cease bowling’. It was Clarke’s last appearance for the County as Notts lost the match by seven wickets. Grundy, with 60, made the highest score in Notts first innings of 138. England replied with 190 (William Clarke 6-92). In their second innings, Notts scored 162 with Tinley making 45; England scored 111-3 to win the contest. Neither Butler Parr nor Joe Guy played for the county and the report also said that Notts ought to have played Tom Davis as wicket-keeper and not Joseph Need. The game saw the debut of the famous John Jackson. The ‘devil’ in his bowling fairly earned him his name of the ‘demon bowler’, for Jackson, whose bowling action was regarded as the ideal, always gave the impression that he was trying to dismiss the batsman, rather than be concerned about his analysis. The only amateur in the Notts Eleven was Edward Bateman, one of three cricketing sons of the rector of East and West Leake. He played for Oxford in the University matches of 1854 and 1855 and was notable for his fielding. For most of his life he lived in London and was for many years on the MCC Committee, this was his only First-Class appearance for Notts. Robert Gibson also made his First-Class debut for Notts in this fixture. He was a medium-fast round-arm bowler, who was a professional at various times in Norfolk and at Oxford; he played in two more Notts games in 1858.

The most popular match in the county during the summer was Charley Brown’s Benefit game, which was originally announced to be against Surrey and played on the Forest on 29, 30 and 31 August, rather than Trent Bridge, in consequence of a disagreement between Brown and some of the Committee of the Nottingham Gentlemen. The game eventually took place on 3 and 4 September between Eighteen of Notts and Clarke’s England Eleven. About 10,000 attended each day, admission was free. ‘The slow, dodging peculiars of our old favourite cricketer and townsman, Bill Clarke took 19 wickets for 79 and he bowled unchanged through both innings, sending down 80.2 overs – not bad for a 56 year old.’ England won by four wickets. Charley Brown was run out in both innings!     

August 2020