County Championship – Joint Champions (W 8, L 1, D 3)

Captain – W Oscroft

After all the players had come to an amicable settlement with the committee after the strike of 1881, Notts became joint champions with Lancashire in 1882.

In the winter of 1881-82, James Lillywhite, Alfred Shaw and Arthur Shrewsbury organised their round the world tour, playing thirty matches in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Shaw captained the side, which consisted of eleven men plus Lillywhite as umpire. Will Scotton and John Selby were the other two Notts members and tour proved most profitable, despite some early financial worries in America.

The team arrived home in mid-May and Shaw and Shrewsbury immediately made up their differences with the County. Notts seemed set for a return to the triumphs of the past and so it proved, though injury and illness prevented a complete success. Notts opened with a home fixture against Yorkshire with the visitors obtaining a first innings lead of 87 runs. Notts then hit 241 in their second innings; Morley had match figures of 12-104 as Yorkshire collapsed for 64 all out and Notts triumphed by 90 runs. It was in this season that the tradition of playing Surrey at Trent Bridge on Whit Monday and August Bank Holiday Monday began. Notts proved victors in both these matches. Morley took 10-106 in a low scoring game over Whitsun, Notts winning by four wickets. Notts made it three wins out of three, winning by an innings and one run in two days at Lord’s, Notts electing to bat first made 210 and bowled Middlesex out for 32 (Morley 6-20, Shaw 4-12). Following-on, Middlesex made 177 all out (Shaw 5-56).

Notts remained at Lord’s and had another two-day success. Opponents MCC led by 19 after the first innings and with Notts needing 164 to win they slipped to 54-7. William Barnes (66*) added 99 for the eighth wicket with Edwin Mills (59) as Notts got home by one wicket. Only one of 12 county matches was lost and that was at Bramall Lane when Morley sprained his ankle after bowling only eight overs in the first innings. Notts followed-on as Yorkshire won by eight wickets, Yorkshire’s slow left-armer Edmund Peate had match figures of11-114.

The vital county matches were against Lancashire, who had been undefeated in 1881 and were thus the reigning champions. In the first meeting between the two sides, starting on 6 July at Trent Bridge, rain on the first day reduced the wicket to a treacherous strip. Notts scored 116 and Lancashire were all out for 52 (Shaw 6-20). The Notts feeble second innings of 42 ended just before stumps on the second day  and Lancashire were left requiring 107 to win and the whole of the third day in which to make the runs. The Lancashire captain Albert Hornby had the wicket rolled in the evening and then again before play began. Notts objected but Hornby declared that if he wanted he could have the wicket rolled all night! In the event Notts won by 37 runs and Dick Barlow, the great stonewaller batted right through the Lancashire innings of 69, scoring just 5 in 150 minutes, being in 50 minutes before he even opened his account; Wilfred Flowers 7-35.

In the return on the Aigburth Ground, rain again interrupted play and Notts needed 95 to win with six wickets in hand when stumps were drawn on the final day. Notts and Lancashire both ended the season with one defeat and thus shared the title. Notts beat Gloucestershire by an innings and 26 runs with a day to spare at Trent Bridge: Notts 183 (Barnes 63); Gloucester 49 (Shaw 5-28, Morley 5-16) and 108 (Flowers 6-22).

August commenced with a six wicket win in two days at Trent Bridge over Sussex, Morley having match figures of 11-103. Runs came more freely - at least for Notts - at the Oval. Arthur Shrewsbury recorded the first double century ever made for the county, batting 395 minutes for 207 with a five and 24 fours. He gave only one chance and his batting was 'scrupulously correct throughout, a remarkable display of painstaking and judicious batting'. With Barnes, who made 130, he put on 289 for the second wicket, the largest stand recorded up to that time in County Championship Cricket.  Notts reached the total of 501, another record for the county. Surrey (121 & 191) were defeated by an innings and 189 runs with Shaw (9-122) and Flowers (10-111) doing the damage. Notts drew with Middlesex at Trent Bridge, right-hander Charles Leslie scored 141 for Middlesex who reached 352 all out. Notts, despite following-on, saved the game as Barnes scored 107. A second draw followed at Clifton College. In the final county match at Hove which started on 7 September, neither Barnes nor Morley played, informing the committee that they had to prepare for their departure with Ivo Bligh's team to Australia. Notts still won by 10 wickets, Charles Wright top scoring with 99 as Notts reached 266 in their first innings, Shaw 9-90 in the match. Wright, an 1882 debutant for Notts – otherwise known as ‘Chawles’ - had been considered the best Public School wicketkeeper of 1881 and in 1882 had gone up to Cambridge where he gained a blue as a freshman. He was a very defensive opening batsman but was weak against spin bowling. Though he hit a century in the University match of 1883, he never really came off for Notts, in spite of a county career of 118 matches between 1882 and 1899. The only other debutant was John Dixon, later captain of the County, but at this time a very nervous batsman, whose appearances were not on a regular basis until the late 1880s.

Due in no small part to his mammoth innings at the Oval, Shrewsbury (351 runs @35.10) despite missing some games through ill-health headed the batting averages, Barnes (616 runs @34.22) was the most consistent of the batsmen. William Oscroft (275 runs @15.27) was not completely fit and retired at the end of the season. Scotton (330 runs @20.62) and Flowers (369 runs @20.50) both making runs, the decline of Selby (242 runs @14.24) was not too serious and the team could afford the luxury of the two Colts, William Gunn (125 runs @9.62) and Fred Butler (151runs @11.62).

Shaw’s (72 wickets @11.64) amazing control of line and length was unimpaired by the years – it was his 19th season in the Eleven – and Morley (57 wickets @12.12), despite being hampered by his ankle, produced splendid figures. Flowers (43 wickets @14.23) bowled well in the last few games, but Barnes’ (7 wickets @41.29) was not too effective.

The Australians came for their third tour in 1882 and played Notts twice. The first game, which started on 8 June, caused a great deal of ill feeling. Captain Holden, the Notts secretary, 'forgot' to order lunch for the Australians on the first day. The Australian captain, Billy Murdoch, regarded this as a deliberate insult, whereas the Notts officials (rather tongue in cheek) maintained that the Club never provided lunch for 'amateurs' - the Australians were earning twice the amount per match compared with the England pros. William Wright tried to calm matters by inviting the Australian Team to dine with him on the second day, an invitation refused by Murdoch, which did nothing to improve relations. To add to this, there were more disagreements over the use of the roller. At the end of the Australian first innings, Notts requested the use of the heavy roller. The interval between the innings however dragged on much longer than the statutory ten minutes and Murdoch ordered the roller off the wicket.  Captain Holden then appeared and in most imperious tone told the ground men to continue rolling and only take orders from himself.  Murdoch then informed Holden that he had no right to be on the ground, but the groundsmen in fact did not remove the roller until the opening batsmen appeared. Holden then went on to accuse the Australian players of writing derogatory remarks about him on the door of the Nottingham Hotel where the players were staying. It was later discovered that the graffiti was not the work of the players, but by a hanger-on. As to the match itself, rain ruined the second day and caused an even draw.

The return with the Australians took place in September for the benefit of Oscroft, who was the Notts captain. Notts collapsed in their second innings being 48 all out, and lost by 164 runs. About 20,000 attended the game, Oscroft receiving in all £622.

It is of interest to state that Australia won the only ‘Test’ by seven runs. Barnes being the sole Notts representative, but a fortnight before on the same ground – The Oval – the Players beat the Australians by an innings, the Players having five Notts men – Shrewsbury, Barnes, Flowers, wicket-keeper Mordecai Sherwin and Morley.

The AGM was held at the George Hotel on 27 January 1883, when the bold Captain announced his resignation as Honorary Secretary. The profit for the year was over £600, though expenses for the year only amounted to £1,805.3s.11d and the balance in the bank rose to £910.14s.6d. Mr Henry Bromley, son of the first President, was elected the new Honorary Secretary.      

June 2020