County Championship 10th (joint with Hampshire) - W2, D10, L5

Captain John Auger Dixon

Although the County Championship was in its tenth season, it was still not regular or regulated; thus Notts played 16 games but were tied on points with Hampshire, who had played 20 (Surrey, the champions again, played 26). Worcestershire, admitted to the Championship for the first time, played just a dozen matches.

There were two First-Class fixtures outside the Championship - a heavy defeat at Lord's to the MCC; Notts 133 and 96, MCC 423, with Rob ert Bagguley, who had been with Nottinghamshire for six seasons earlier in the decade, contributing 68 - and a drawn game against the Australian tourists at Trent Bridge.

In the Committee Report for the year, it said that the 'profit of £1578 2s 4d on the season’s working would have been considerably greater but for the wet weather which, for the third year in succession, prevailed at the Whitsuntide Match, Notts. V. Surrey, a misfortune which was repeated at the Match Notts. v. Australians, and one or two other of the most attractive Matches'.

Indeed, the rain may have cheated the home club of a morale-boosting win with Australia 38-6 chasing just 86; Victor Trumper, who made his test debut at Trent Bridge a month earlier, top scored in the match with 85 in the visitors' first innings.

WG Grace, playing his last Test was 50 years and 320 days old when the match ended; only Wilfred Rhodes played Test cricket at a greater age and, by coincidence, he was making his debut in Grace's last match. Trumper and Rhodes may be the most illustrious pair to play their debut test at Trent Bridge.  In addition to WG - whose decision to stand down after this test was due in no small part to the barracking he got from the home supporters - this was also the last test for home favourite Billy Gunn.

The profit thus arising, reported the Committee, 'was transferred to the Trent Bridge Ground Extension and Improvement Account, the completion of the stands round the Ground, the erection of the Ladies’ Pavilion, and new Dressing Rooms for the players (adjoining the Members’ Pavilion), the building of the Hall for the purpose of the players practicing in during the winter months, and several other minor additions and improvements on the Ground'. 

These improvements were essential as without them the England v. Australia Match certainly could not have been played at Trent Bridge, 'considering the scanty accommodation previously existing there'.  Some things don't change - the allocation of Test Matches today always comes with contingencies around facilties and accommodation.

Away from the Test Match, county form continued to be at best patchy, with obdurance and rain combining to produce ten drawn games in the Championship, including the first five in a row. In the season opener against Lancashire, Jimmy Iremonger made his First-Class debut batting at ten. He was to play every season until the outbreal of WWI and contribute more than 30 centures and over 16,000 runs in the cause.

In the drawn match against Gloucestershire there were some notable performances - Shrewsbury and Jones opened with a stand of 391, a partnership which still remains a county record for the first wicket. Jones was the first to be dismissed after 270 minutes, his innings of 250 containing 32 fours; Shrewsbury batted for 330 minutes. Notts made 607 to which Gloucs replied with 366 and, following on, 193-5.  Charles Dench, continuing the good form of previous years, took his first (and only) First-Class hat trick in the Gloucester second innings, bowling Stanley Brown, having James Cranston caught by Tom Oates and then bowling Harry Wrathall.

Star of the draw with Sussex at Hove was undoubtedly 'Ranji', who took his then career-best bowling of 5-45 as Notts were dismissed for 180 in their first innings and then made 178 out Sussex's first innings of 347; Billy Gunn led a spirited seconds innings response for Notts, scoring exactly 150 and sharing a double-century second wicket stand with Arthur Shrewsbury (114).

There then followed the only two victories in the Championship - thrashing Derbyshire by an innings and 180 runs at home and then travelling to Lord's where they beat Middlesex by 52 runs. Daniel Bottom and Topsy Wass shared the Derbyshire first innings wickets, with Bottom taking his career-best haul of 5-34.

Nottinghamshire won a low-scoring match against Middlesex thanks largely to the bowling of Wass and John Gunn. Gunn took ten in the match, 5-50 and 5-16; those remarkable second innings figures included a hat trick of Herbert Hayman (bowled), Francis Ford (caught by Topsy Wass), and John Rawling (bowled).

A heavy defeat, by 365 runs, to Kent at home was followed by two draws - a rain-affected game against Sussex and a similarly weather-beaten game with Gloucestershire than was enlivened by a typically brisk 126 by Gilbert Jessop. There followed another hefty defeat, this time by 84 runs, to Lancashire and a rather anomalour draw with the other Rose county at Bradford.

High scoring first innings - Yorkshire 562 (FS Jackson 114); Notts 444 (Shrewsbury 175) - were followed by Yorkshire subsiding to 120 all out, AO Jones taking 4-19 and passing 100 First-Class wickets in the process.

Jones was to feature in the draw away to Surrey too, making 129 as Notts compiled exactly 300 and passing 1,000 First-Class runs for the season when  he reached 23. George Groves, a sports journalist who played 17 First-Class games for Notts made his debut at The Oval.  He was to meet a dramatic in a loine bombing raid on the town of Newmarket in 1941 when the offices of the Sporting Chronicle were hit; Groves was 72 at the time and presumably only working because younger men were on active service. His qualification to play for Notts was somewhat tenuous; he was, it is true, born in Nottingham but only because his parents were on a visit at the time!

Notts lost by an innings and 42 to Yorkshire then fought out a high-scoring draw with Derbyshire. Batting first, Nottinghamshire made 581 without anyone making a century (only George Chambers, playing the last of his three First-Class matches, made single figures, being 2no). Derbyshire replied with 342 and followed-on; when stumps were drawn, they were 253-9.

The season ended with another substantial defeat, this time by ten wickets to Middlesex. Notts made 292 and 199, Middlesex replied with 475, built around Cyril Wells's bareer best 244, and needed just 17 runs to seal the win in their second knock.

John Gunn and Topsy Wass shared the bowling honours, each taking 56 wickets - Wass with the slightly better average of 21.05 compared with Gunn's 23.03. AO Jones, 1206 runs at 50.25 and Arthur Shrewsbury, 1215 at 55.22 were the stand-out batters, closely followed by Billy Gunn who made 1230 at 45.55; between them, they made all of Notts's nine centuries in the season.

In consideration of the 'valuable and loyal services rendered to the County by Arthur Shrewsbury over 26 years', the club decided that he would receive as a compliment half the net proceeds of the Notts v Surrey match at Whitsuntide 1900.


December 2023

Scorecards and stats can be seen here


Picture: England cricket team at Trent Bridge 1899. Back row: Dick Barlow (umpire), Tom Hayward, George Hirst, Billy Gunn, J T Hearne (12th man), Bill Storer (wkt kpr), Bill Brockwell, V A Titchmarsh (umpire). Middle row: C B Fry, K S Ranjitsinhji, W G Grace (captain), Stanley Jackson. Front row: Wilfred Rhodes, Johnny Tyldesley.