County Championship – 6th (W 5, L 7, D 4)
Captain – John Auger Dixon
The 1893 season began at Lord’s where Notts lost to the MCC by 37 runs in John Wheeler’s benefit match – Wheeler, the old Notts and Leicestershire cricketer, had been on the MCC ground staff since 1877 but was by 1893 a regular county umpire. The traditional inter-county fixture for the start of the Trent Bridge summer provided an innings and 67-run victory for Notts over Sussex. Notts’ 386 came in 255 minutes - very fast by 1893 standards - William Gunn top scoring with 109. Jack Mee took 9-54 in the Sussex first innings.
The serious cricket took place on Whit Monday, when over 10,000 came to watch Surrey score 238 and Notts reach 36-4. The highest scorer for Surrey was Notts-born Bill Lockwood (63), who went on to bowl unchanged through Notts first innings of 114. Following on, the home side scored 196 (Tom Richardson 14-145 in the match), Surrey winning by seven wickets.
At the start of June, Frank Shacklock performed the feat of four wickets in four balls (Spurway, Newton, Trask and Gibbs) in the second innings against Somerset at Trent Bridge, finishing with the figures of 8-46 as Somerset were bowled out for 95, Notts winning by 225 runs. Next up a trip to Lord’s where Middlesex proved tougher; Notts were set 331 in four hours on the last day but were bowled out of 273, Middlesex winning with ten minutes to spare. Andrew Stoddart (195 not out) carried his bat during the home side’s first innings of 327 and then made 124 in the second innings. Notts 301 all out in their first innings, Gunn scoring 120.
The following match at Hove was perhaps the beginning of the oft-told tale of Notts winning the toss and most of the team going down to the beach whilst Arthur Shrewsbury and Gunn spent day at the crease. The pair added 274 for the second wicket, Shrewsbury making 164 and Gunn 156; the score at stumps on the first day was 376-2. William Barnes (102) also hit a century and Notts amassed 674, then the highest total for the County and the second highest, up to that date, in a First-Class county match. Notts gained a first innings lead of 453 but Sussex managed to hold out for a draw. Lancashire triumphed at Trent Bridge by four wickets - Notts 318 (Shrewsbury 148) and 92 (Sutton-in-Ashfield born Johnny Briggs 6-35) Lancashire 322 (Frank Sugg 127) and 92-6, having been 55-6. Notts ended June with a five wicket victory over Gloucester at Bristol
Notts commenced July with a draw at Bradford, the first day was badly affected by rain; highlight of the game was Gunn’s 150 as Notts scored 321-8d. The return fixture followed straight away, Yorkshire winning by an innings and 20 runs in two days, Notts 38 all out in their second innings, including three run outs. This was lowest innings total in the 1893 championship season. A high scoring draw against Kent at Trent Bridge was brightened with skipper John Dixon scoring 139 and Gunn 129; Notts batting first ran up a total of 415. Notts doubled Gloucester by defeating them by an innings and 130 runs at Trent Bridge, Gloucestershire all out for 72 and 71, Dick Attewell (11-83) and Shacklock (8-50) ran amok.
Over the August Bank Holiday in what turned out to be a two-day affair at the Oval, Lockwood (5-45) bowled unchanged once more through the first innings in a very one-sided match that Surrey won by ten wickets. In the next game at Canterbury, not for the first time, Shacklock arrived on the field drunk during the drawn match against Kent and with previous warnings having therefore gone unheeded, he was dropped and never played for Notts again. During the season, Shacklock had taken 48 championship wickets @20.83.
Despite Mee having figures of 7-51 and Notts gaining a first innings of 67 runs over visiting Middlesex (Dixon 133), Notts lost by 160 runs after being bowled out for 92 in their second innings. Jack Hearne had a fantastic match for the victors taking 7-99 and 8-55 respectively. Somerset gained their revenge for their Trent Bridge trouncing by winning by an innings and 99 runs with a day to spare at Taunton, Notts bowled out for 100 and 112. Notts’ up and down Championship season ended when they inflicted a nine-wicket defeat on second-placed Lancashire at Old Trafford; Wilfred Flowers had a splendid game performing the match double, scoring 107 and taking 6-44 and 5-84, Lancashire following-on after Notts scored 289 with Shrewsbury scoring 101.
Notts’ five Championship wins contrasted with seven defeats and they finished in sixth place; a drop of four places compared with 1892. The main reason for their fall being the deterioration in quality of their bowling. Notts only really had four bowlers, Mee (71 wickets @20.55), Attewell (69 wickets @21.60), Shacklock and Flowers (35 wickets @21.85). Mee relied on his terrific pace to obtain most of his wickets. Wisden bemoaned the fact that because none of the four had an average of below 20 runs per wicket that “it was not surprising that the county should have fallen so far behind in the race for supremacy”. In 1892, Attewell had taken 97 wickets @12.79.
The Notts First-Class season finished with a match v Australia match at Trent Bridge, the tourists winning by an innings and 154 runs, Notts 63 and 126 all out, Charlie Turner, the right-arm medium pacer, had match figures of 13-52. The Aussies had visited Trent Bridge in late June for Shrewsbury’s Benefit. Arthur Shrewsbury’s XI beat them by an innings and 153 runs making them follow-on, the Yorkshire left-armer Peel taking 11-110 as the match just crept into the third day. Spectators totalled 6,000 on each of the first two days; Shrewsbury hit an undefeated 52.
On the whole the batting was in fine fettle. Gunn (1,223 runs @47.03), Shrewsbury (976 runs @37.53), Dixon (748 runs @35.61) and Flowers (652 runs @27.16) maintained their form, with Gunn heading the first-class batting averages and hitting a century in the Test Match at Old Trafford. Shrewsbury was also in splendid form for England, coming top of the England averages with 284 runs @71.00, including a century at Lord’s. The Notts reject, Lockwood, topped the England bowling averages.
In another attempt to unearth talent the Committee arranged a Gentlemen v Players of the County match in mid-August, at which Arthur Bennett, the Notts Castle Amateur, distinguished himself, his fast bowling taking 13 wickets. A second amateur who played in that match, Richard Howitt, made his debut in the first game of 1893 v MCC at Lord’s. He was an opening batsman from Farnsfield and played for many years in club cricket in the Newark area, but he was already 29 in 1893.
Several recruits were enrolled to fill the errant Shacklock’s place – Silas Hardy of Kimberley, William Wilkinson came back and Richard Hardstaff of Selston; only the last named showed any potential.
Scorecards and stats can be seen here