County Championship – Joint Champions (W 5, L 1)
Captains – G Parr (1 game), R Daft (5 games)
Six inter-county games were on the 1869 fixture list, Yorkshire and Surrey continuing from 1868; Kent replaced Lancashire, perhaps due to the fact that Lancashire employed ‘foreign’ players.
After the Easter Colts match was washed out, the County programme opened at Trent Bridge on the last day of May. Yorkshire were the visitors. Notts batted after winning the toss and made 111 (Richard Daft 39 not out). Then Jemmy Shaw (5-13) and George Howitt (4-29) bowled Yorkshire out for 43. George Parr top scored with 44 as Notts scored 204 in their second innings. Yorkshire were 171 all out (Jemmy Shaw 5-94, Howitt 5-60), Notts winning by 101 runs. Henry Enfield, a 19 year-old amateur and nephew of a former Town Clerk of Nottingham made his First-Class debut in this game, making 0 and 2. He was studying for the bar, but abandoned the legal profession in favour of painting, becoming a well-known artist specialising in seascape work. He lived in Germany for a great many years, before returning to Nottingham, where he died in 1923.
Notts played MCC for the first time since 1843. The match at Lord’s was the maiden appearance for the formidable WG Grace against Notts, who dominated the match. Grace scored 48 out of the MCC first innings total of 112 (Jemmy Shaw 6-48); then 121 out of 210 (Jemmy Shaw 5-99). Daft however ‘a marvel for cool, cautious, scientific and successful defence’ hit an unbeaten 103 in Notts second innings of 295 as Notts won by 102 runs. The old rivals, Surrey, also suffered from Daft’s batting at Trent Bridge when he 56 out of 187 in the first innings – Notts winning by nine wickets.
Notts won by an innings and 25 runs at Angel Ground,Tonbridge; Kent, batting first, made 112 all out (Jemmy Shaw 5-39). Chilwell-born right-hander Tom Bignall (116 not out) scored his one and only First-Class century and with George Summers making 42, Notts gained a first innings lead of 139. Charles Thornton (76) fought a lone hand with all his remaining 10 batting colleagues failing to make double figures as the Hop County was dismissed for 114 (Jemmy Shaw 6-44). At the end of July Notts travelled to the Oval. Jemmy Shaw took 5-73 as Surrey were bowled out for 206. Daft then made a cautious 93 not out in Notts innings of 356 with Barnby Moor right-hander John Beevor making a career best 88. Henry Jupp, batting at three, made 102 not out in Surrey’s second innings of 208, with Daft taking 5-23 with his lobs. Notts, needing 59 in 90 minutes, won the game by six wickets. Notts had given a trial this season to Walter Price of Ruddington even though he was 34. He scored 57 in the first innings, but only played five matches in all for Notts, his fielding being a weak point.
The single loss of the season was at Bramall Lane. It was the most interesting of the matches, in that Notts gained a first innings lead of 8 (213 to 205), but Tom Emmett (7-35) bowled very finely to dismiss Notts for 79 in the second innings, only Richard Daft with 31 not out could cope with his deliveries. Yorkshire won by five wickets. The final game was versus Kent at Trent Bridge, the Notts first innings total of 446 was a new record score. Bignall (71) helped Notts to 277-8. William McIntyre (99) then added 165 for ninth wicket with George Wootton (60 not out); this partnership remained a Notts record for 125 years until broken by Jimmy Adams and Kevin Evans versus Somerset at Taunton in 1994. McIntyre was contemporarily described as ‘extremely ungainly and uncertain as a bat’ but ‘makes good use of his strength and hits with great determination’. With Edgar Willsher absent ill in both innings, Kent were bowled out for 52 (Jemmy Shaw 5-29) and 113, as Notts won by an innings and 281 runs. Notts and Yorkshire shared the championship title, each county sustaining one defeat, that being at the hands of the other.
Daft was now at the pinnacle of his career scoring 367 runs @61.16 in inter-county matches; Grace alone had a better average, but many of his runs were made in lesser matches for MCC (Gloucestershire was not then a First-Class county). Tom Bignall with 255 runs @31.87 finished second in the Notts batting averages. William Oscroft (210 runs @26.25) was almost back to his 1865 form. George Parr, officially the captain, appeared in one game and the side was led by Daft. Both Parr and Cris Tinley had come to the end of their long careers. Jemmy Shaw (43 wickets @13.00) dominated the bowling, though Daft (8 wickets @9.00) who tried out his lobs at the Oval, nominally topped the bowling averages. Wootton took 25 wickets @15.44.
At the AGM on 30 December, Notts announced a profit £245.3s.3d. Mr Jamson, the tenant of the Trent Bridge, was making more extensive use of the facilities than his predecessors. During January there were two Athletics Meetings – admission 3d – with approximately 1,000 attending each. In the same month Nottingham Forest played Sheffield Norfolk at Trent Bridge in front of 400, there was pigeon shooting, rabbit coursing and sparrow shooting. One of Notts County’s matches had to be transferred to the Meadows, because of a rabbit coursing event on 29 January. Rabbit coursing was most popular at the time and attracted two or three times the spectators drawn to a soccer match.