County Championship – W 2, L 1, D 3
Captains – G Parr
There was a change of personnel at Trent Bridge in 1864, Joseph Hickling retired as landlord of the Inn and his place was taken by Samuel Jamson. Harry Hall, the groundsman, died and George Butler, who had assisted Hall for some years, now replaced him. The Committee filled the blank left by Surrey with a fixture, for the first time, against Middlesex, whose county club had only been in existence for some two years.
There was nothing particularly noteworthy about the annual Colts match, except that one of Alfred Shaw’s brothers, William, was tried in the Eleven and later played in one match for Notts during the season.
Having played Cambridgeshire at Lord’s in 1864 and at Old Trafford in 1865, Notts played at Fenner’s in 1866. Notts were put into bat and got off to a good start, when Charles Brampton (89) and George Wootton (55) added 115 for the second wicket as Notts made 270 (George Tarrant 7-114). John Jackson, James Grundy and Jemmy Shaw bowled out Cambridgeshire twice (138 and 164) as the home side followed-on and Notts won by eight wickets. A rain-ruined draw at Great Horton Road, Bradford followed. No play was possible on the first two days and just 95 four-ball overs were possible on the last day, with Notts 103-6.
Notts slipped to a heavy innings and 67 runs defeat versus Middlesex at Trent Bridge in two days. Russell Walker hit 90 whilst his brother and captain, Edward Walker, made 58 as the visitors were 211 all-out. Notts could only scrape together 88 and 66. Tom Hearne (6-35 and 6-41) and Russell Walker (4-50 and 4-23) bowled unchanged throughout both innings. At beginning of July, Notts drew their return with Cambridgeshire. The away team scored 217, Tom Hayward with 73 and Robert Carpenter 57 being the major contributors. Notts replied 195 all out (Richard Daft 52, William Oscroft 41, Walter Watts 7-78). Cambridgeshire’s Charles Warren scored 76 and Jemmy Shaw took 6-74 as Cambridgeshire set Notts 202 to win. When stumps were drawn, Notts stood on 99-6 with Oscroft 55 not out.
The two principal fixtures of the season were blighted by the refusal of George Parr and several of his confederates to take part in matches at Lord’s, thus neither the Players team v Gentlemen, or North v South were at all representative. At the beginning of August, Notts beat Yorkshire in two days at Trent Bridge by nine wickets. Jemmy Shaw (6-36) was the leading bowler as Yorkshire made 78. Notts got a first innings lead of 13 and the Tykes made 83 in the second innings (Wootton 6-47 and Jemmy Shaw 3-14). Notts galloped home on 71-1 (Brampton 41 not out). The county’s final match was the most interesting, being the return with Middlesex at the Cattle Market Ground in Islington. Only two runs separated the sides at the end of the first innings (Notts 174, Middlesex 172). Richard Daft then played an excellent innings of 94 in Notts second innings total of 247 and the match ended with Middlesex needing 190 runs with seven wickets in hand. Middlesex took the Championship crown from Notts, having six wins in eight matches. Notts could only manage two from six.
After his brilliant batting in 1865, William Oscroft (185 runs @20.55) fell right away, but Daft (229 runs @22.90) scored the most runs. Brampton (183 runs @30.50) topped the batting averages. Skipper Parr scored 148 runs @21.14. Wootton (15 wickets @19.80), Grundy (10 wickets @20.30) and lynchpin Jemmy Shaw (35 wickets @11.02) provided the County with an adequate attack; Alfred Shaw (138 runs @13.80) played mainly as a batsman.
The Demon Jackson (7 wickets @16.85) ruptured a blood vessel during the Yorkshire game at Trent Bridge and this proved to be his last match for the County. He claimed that he had been dropped as soon as diplomatically possible simply because he was born in Suffolk, and the Notts Committee were now boasting that they only included Notts-born men. The problem of qualification was being aired because the unwritten law stated that a player could appear for either county of birth or residence and a handful of players were playing almost alternative matches for the two counties for which they were qualified. George Howitt, who made his Notts debut in 1866 was a case in point. Born in Lenton, he had moved to Bow in Middlesex about 1858. He was given a job as a ground bowler to the Middlesex Club in 1864 and in 1865 made his debut for Middlesex. A left-arm fast bowler he held his place in the Middlesex side for the next ten seasons, playing for Notts when available.