County Championship – Champions W 6, L 1, D 3
Captain – R Daft
Two important changes were made to the 1875 fixture list. Derbyshire were to be met on even terms and the Nottingham Journal reported “the unfortunate misunderstanding between ourselves and the Gloucester team on account, I think, of a piece of rather shabby conduct on the part of the latter’s club’s great luminary, has been brought to a happy termination”.
The season was dominated by “The Emperor of Bowlers”, Alfred Shaw, who took 73 championship wickets @8.03; no one else managed half that number. Shaw’s most extraordinary feat occurred in mid-June against MCC at Lord’s where his figures were 41.2-36-7-7. Nonetheless, MCC won the game by 62 runs, WG Grace taking 9-86 in the match as Notts, batting last and chasing 138 to win, were 75 all out (Daft 35 not out). Shaw was presented with a silver teapot, valued at £15, in August and a further collection was made for him at a special match between North and South Notts, staged at his home village of Burton Joyce in mid-September.
There were two other benefits played in the county during the summer, Cris Tinley was awarded the proceeds of a North v South match at Trent Bridge and, with subscriptions, received £406.9s.1d. His career in county matches had ended in 1869 after 23 years but he still appeared in local cricket. The annual Lace v Hosiery match at Trent Bridge had been played for the widow of Isaac Johnson, a stalwart of local cricket, who had died in the autumn of 1874.
Unlike 1874, the Championship campaign was one of undimmed success until the very last match. It started in mid-May against Derbyshire whom Notts defeated by 93 runs at Trent Bridge with William Scotton making his debut. Notts gained a first innings lead of 10 runs but scored 205 in their second innings, right-hand bat Henry Reynolds scoring a career best 70 not out. Derbyshire were then bowled out for 122 with Martin McIntyre taking 5-37. There was an unfortunate happening at Bramall Lane when with Notts chasing 113 for victory William Oscroft disputed the umpire, who adjudged him ‘run out’ and both Oscroft and his partner, Fred Wyld (61), walked off the field. The Yorkshire side followed suit and half-an-hour elapsed, during which the crowd grew extremely restless, before Oscroft conceded the point and play resumed – Notts won by six wickets. Shaw had match figures of 9-67.
In the second week of June, Notts drew with Surrey at Trent Bridge, the match being hit by rain. Notts, electing to bat, were bowled out for 49 and Surrey followed up with 39 (Shaw 6-8). Notts scored 216 as Shaw top scored with 56; when stumps were drawn Surrey were struggling on 83-6 (Shaw 4-14). Rain came to Notts’ rescue at Prince’s against Middlesex with the last day completely lost. Notts, after winning the toss, were bowled out for 139 (Walter Hadow 7-68). Middlesex got a first innings lead of 62, Alexander Webbe carring his bat for 97 not out. Notts were bowled out for 129 (Hadow 4-39, Isaac Walker 6-42). Middlesex’s second innings never commenced. July closed with a three wicket home victory over Gloucester, Notts obtained a first innings lead of 67 runs and scraped home on 66-7. WG Grace had match figures of 10-86 and Shaw 8-73.
Notts won at Derby in the second week of August by 117 runs; Notts 179 (Wyld 93, William Mycroft 7-55) and 142 (Mycroft 5-63) Derby 138 (Shaw 4-37) and 66 (Shaw 8-25). They followed it with an innings and 2-run victory against Middlesex at Trent Bridge, the visitors were bowled out for 102 and 63, Shaw 9-44, in the match that finished with a day to spare. Rain was the winner at Clifton College as only 21 wickets fell in three days. WG Grace (119) ensured Gloucestershire had a first innings lead of 97 runs. Shaw (11-100 in the match) was the outstanding performer once more as Notts won by innings and 16 runs at the Oval. John Selby (52) was top scorer in Notts’ 278. In the final game at Trent Bridge the lobs of Tom Armitage (4.1-2-8-5) confused the Notts batsmen and gave Yorkshire victory by 87 runs, Notts 58 all out in their second innings; Shaw rounded off a memorable season with 10-102 in the contest.
Notts therefore won six out of ten matches and lost one. This record gave the county the Championship title once more. Morley (33 wickets @18.21) was regarded as the best fast bowler in the country, but his record in 1875 bore no comparison to the mighty Shaw. Martin McIntyre took 21 wickets @13.76.
Three young players established places in the team, William Clarke (22 wickets @11.73) of Old Basford came in for Jemmy Shaw. He was a good medium-pace bowler but, being engaged in Scotland, had difficulty in obtaining the necessary time off to play county matches; his appearances for Notts were therefore more or less confined to a single season.
The other two youngsters in the 1875 Notts line-up were to prove of much greater importance. The first was a batsman, who had won great praise in the Colts match of 1873, but illness had prevented him playing in 1874 – Lenton born Arthur Shrewsbury (302 runs @18.87) was only 19 and was destined to assume the mantle of Parr and Daft and become the most accomplished professional batsman of his generation. The other was William Barnes (126 runs @14.00), an all-rounder from Sutton-in-Ashfield; four years Shrewsbury’s senior and without a trial in the Colts match, he came into the Notts side part way through 1875, remaining a permanent member until 1894.
Notts also gave a trial to Arthur Shrewsbury’s brother, William, a batsman who was very effective in local cricket, and a young wicket-keeper from Arnold, Alfred Anthony. Neither found a regular place in the County Eleven. John Mills of Wollaton also made his debut and was an attractive batsman and the brother of the better known Edwin Mills.
William Scotton, a school fellow of the Shrewsburys at People’s College, began as an attacking batsman – one of his hits went into the pavilion balcony at Trent Bridge, a rare event - but became a very dour batsman for Notts and England, playing for the County until 1890. He, like Shrewsbury, ended up committing suicide.
Wyld (336 runs @22.40) topped the Notts championship batting averages, but leading run scorer was Selby (342 runs @20.17). Oscroft scored 266 runs @15.65. Daft (193 runs @12.87), the captain, had a very poor season.
The annual expenses climbed above £1,000 for the first time but receipts rose again to provide a profit of over £180 on the year’s workings and the balance in hand at the AGM was £294.17s.3d. The public enthusiasm for WG Grace had dimmed somewhat. The receipts for the Gloucester match showed a dramatic drop compared with the last time that county visited Trent Bridge and the most popular game of the summer was the one against Yorkshire, ironically the only game that Notts lost in 1875.