County Championship – Champions (W 4, L 2)
Captains – G Parr
There was a complete change of fixture list for 1868: the matches with Surrey and Yorkshire were revived, an innovation was ‘out and home’ matches with Lancashire, the fixtures against Middlesex and Cambridgeshire were dropped. The first match was in fact against the Red Rose County at Trent Bridge with Notts winning by an innings and 74 runs. Lancashire were bowled out for 74 (George Wootton 6-38), Notts quadrupled their score, finishing on 296 (Richard Daft 94, William Oscroft 56) and Lancashire doubled their first innings effort with 148 all out (Jemmy Shaw 5-55, Wootton 4-58). John Beevor, a solicitor from Worksop, though a native of Barnby Moor, near Retford, made his debut in this match but had to retire ill on 12. A tall powerfully-built man, he was a good batsman with Uppingham Rovers and occasionally bowled slow round-arm.
Notts lost their next two matches. At Trent Bridge in early July Yorkshire won in two days by nine wickets. Notts following-on made 60 and 158 leaving Yorkshire with just six runs to win. Notts went down by 74 runs at the Oval which was considered ‘the match of the season’. Surrey winning the toss, were dismissed for 114 (Jemmy Shaw 4-41, Wootton 4-49), but Notts could only muster 58 (George Griffith 5-31, James Southerton 5-23). In the Surrey second innings Tom Humphrey batted four and half hours for 103, though none of his colleagues helped a great deal, Notts needed 241 in the final innings. They made 166 - George Summers and Richard Daft each hitting 57. This was the low point of the year, Notts then won all three return matches. Notts triumphed by 108 runs at Dewsbury. Summers (42) and Daft (51) were the mainstays of Notts first innings 162 all out. Yorkshire replied with 85. Tom Emmett with second innings figures of 9-34 (13-97 in the match) bowled Notts out for 107. Martin McIntyre (5-33) then bowled Notts to victory as Yorkshire were 76 all out in their second innings. A tall slim, auburn haired youth, McIntyre (107 runs @13.37 and 12 wickets @12.58), made his debut in 1868. ‘In bowling, his delivery is extremely rapid – even more so than John Jackson’s – so much so, that a batsman has been struck before he thought the ball was bowled’. He was also a very dangerous batsman and, unlike some all-rounders, he tended to perform well at both facets (or badly at both) in any given matches, rather than shine in one. As a fieldsman he was lazy, apparently too tall to get down to the ball and his throwing in was anything but accurate. Daft said of him that if he had taken the trouble he would have been the finest all-rounder in England.
Notts had a narrow win at Old Trafford, getting home by 16 runs. Notts made 127 (Roger Iddison 6-29) and Lancashire secured a first innings lead of 41 as John Truswell in his second and last First-Class game for Notts took 5-45. He was a gentlemen farmer from Farnsfield who played mainly for Newark and Southwell. Notts look dead and buried as they were bowled out for 110 second time around as Iddison had match figures of 10-87. Lancashire needed 70 but fell to 53 all out as Jemmy Shaw 4-25 and Alfred Shaw 6-27 bowled unchanged through the 56.1 overs of the innings. The concluding fixture was against Surrey at Trent Bridge at the end of August. Tom Bignall, who had been dropped from the line-up, returned to hit 97 in Notts second innings of 202. Surrey could only muster 69 and 78, with Jemmy Shaw taking 12-72, providing victory by 184 runs. James Southerton took 13-157 for the losers. Notts were once more awarded the title of “Champion County”.
On the whole the batting, considering its paper strength, was disappointing - Daft (285 runs @25.91) being the exception. William Oscroft’s batting (80 runs @16.00) fell right away and the hero of 1865 was omitted from the eleven on several occasions. George Summers was second top scorer with 210 runs @19.09. With John Jackson’s spectacular career now at an end, Jemmy Shaw (41 wickets @11.24) took the most wickets. Wootton took 27 wickets @11.56. Top of the averages was the up and coming Alfred Shaw (13 wickets @8.00).
No fewer than 19 players were used, seven being in the Eleven for the first time. Martin McIntyre, Beevor and Truswell have already been mentioned. Fred Wyld, like McIntyre a collier from Eastwood, got into the team as a batsman, but later in his career became the wicket-keeper. Herbert Miles, son of the rector of Bingham, was in the Royal Artillery and had been in the eleven at Marlborough in 1865. He was a useful fast-medium bowler. Another amateur was Thomas Wright, a dark-complexioned gentleman with Dundreary whiskers. He played for the Nottingham Commercial Club and was employed in a local bank. Although a successful batsman in local matches his technique was not up to county standard. Samuel Sharpe played twice and was the father of John Sharpe, the England Test bowler who, although latterly playing for Notts, achieved most of his success at Surrey.
On their tour of England, the Australian Aborigines staged a match at Trent Bridge against Nottingham Commercial, the Commercial team included seven amateurs who played occasional county cricket and the first innings was even, but the Commercial made 272, with George Royle scoring 100 not out in their second innings and the match was drawn. There was the usual exhibition of throwing boomerangs and long spears after the match.
The AGM of the County Club was held at the Midland Inn on 15 December 1868. The following instruction to the committee was passed by the meeting:
‘Under the impression that county cricket, to be thoroughly appreciated by the public; a return ought to be made as near as may be to the manner in which those contests were formerly conducted, when no title but that of birth enabled any player, whether gentlemen or professional, to take part therein, and that, consequently, it be an instruction to the committee, in the selection of our future matches, to give preference to those counties who adopt that rule as their guide.
‘Secondly, that so long as the title to play in county matches is by residence as well as birth, the same may be acquiesced in by the committee, on the understanding that no such player shall play in any respect of each such qualification during the same season.
‘Lastly, that it be a further instruction to the committee that they endeavour to prevail upon all the counties who not at present do so, to adopt the principle of the last resolution. It is believed that Kent, Sussex, Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire and Notts, at the present time, play only those who are county born, and it is thought other counties would follow in their wake if the subject was properly introduced to their notice, as tending to promote the real and appreciable contest between county and county’.
In fact only, Notts and Yorkshire made a determined attempt to play only native cricketers and in both cases this was not very strictly enforced when considering amateur players.