County Championship – 10th (W 6, L 7, D 7)

Captain – Arthur Owen Jones

Trent Bridge was allocated a Test Match for the 1905 series against Australia having missed out in 1902 and this match was the major feature of the summer’s cricket in Nottingham. The total attendance over the three days was around 36,000 of whom 31,622 paid at the gate. Neither of the Notts representatives in the England side, Arthur Jones and John Gunn, made any significant contribution to England’s 213-run victory, the main spectacle of which was the batting of Archie MacLaren (140) and skipper Stanley Jackson (82 plus five wickets) and Bernard Bosanquet’s googlies (8-107 in the second innings).

Notts did not fare as well in the Championship compared with the previous few seasons. The County were reasonably successful up to the end of June and then Tom Wass injured a finger so badly he missed seven weeks and did not return to the side until the penultimate match. In total he missed eight games, Notts winning one and losing four during his absence. This meant that both John Gunn and Hallam were over-bowled with a consequent lessening in their effectiveness. John Gunn (1,121 championship runs @43.11) batted well and he and James Iremonger (1,442 championship runs @46.51) were most consistent, a term which could not be applied to the captain Jones (1,312 runs @42.32) though his 274 v Essex in mid-August, enabled him to return a good average.

The County won six championship matches but lost seven to finish tenth in the table. Notts started with two First-Class friendlies losing to MCC by 10 wickets at Lord’s, then drawing against the Australians. The Championship programme started with a draw at Hove and a 198-run victory over Middlesex at Lord’s, with Albert Hallam taking 6-46 in the second innings. Essex were slaughtered by an innings and 172 runs at Trent Bridge with James Iremonger scoring 239 and John Gunn having match figures of 13-138. Gloucester then defeated Notts by eight wickets at Bristol. Notts travelled to Gravesend and beat Kent in two days by an innings and 85 runs; John Gunn scored an undefeated 108 as Notts reached 327 and Kent were bowled out for 141 and 111, with Wass having figures of 8-67 and 5-55.

Notts commenced June badly with a crushing innings and 215 run defeat by visitors Sussex with CB Fry scoring 233. The Whitsuntide match produced a large win for Notts by 228 runs over Surrey – John Gunn had the misfortune to be 99 not out at the close of the first day and then dismissed without adding to the total. There followed a remarkable game at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Wass and Hallam dismissed Yorkshire before lunch on the first day for 61, Notts then hit 59 before the fall of their first wicket, after which they collapsed, but reached 122, which was double the Yorkshire score The home side improved in their second innings, but Notts only required 167 in their last innings to win; they were all out in 80 minutes for 39, Haigh and Rhodes being the destroyers. Lancashire looked to be heading for a win at Trent Bridge – Lancashire made 627 with Johnny Tyldesley 250 (adding 141 for the last wicket with ‘keeper William Worsley) with all eleven of the Notts team given a bowl.  Notts replied with 192 – but a splendid rearguard action by Iremonger (124) and Jones (96), saved Notts, who closed on 365-8 after following on.

Wass was injured in the rain-wrecked draw at Leicester. The game at Trent Bridge against Derbyshire provided Notts with an eight wicket win and a bit of an oddity, since not a single paying spectator watched the victory; Notts required 56 runs on the third day with nine wickets in hand. John Gunn scored 178 and took eight wickets in a high scoring drawn contest versus Leicester at Trent Bridge. Notts stayed at home and lost a tight game by four wickets to Kent.

Notts hit a bad spell losing three out of four games, all with a day to spare, Yorkshire winning by an innings and 55 runs at Trent Bridge, Lancashire winning by 207 runs at Old Trafford. August commenced with a soggy draw at Trent Bridge versus Gloucester, only 100 overs bowled. Then Surrey got their revenge for their Whitsun defeat by winning by eight wickets at The Oval in a low scoring match where rain had affected the pitch. There followed a high scoring draw at Leyton where Jones and John Gunn (151) added 361 for the fourth wicket. Wass returned and bowled out Middlesex cheaply but following on they just managed to bat out time. William Heymann, part of the famous lace making family who resided at West Bridgford Hall, made his sole First-Class appearance in this fixture taking two wickets. He was an outstanding all-rounder for Haileybury who led the school averages in 1904, and played his cricket for Notts Amateurs. Wass then took 10-146 in the match, in the final fixture against Derbyshire at Derby, Notts winning by six wickets as the home side followed on.

Iremonger, Jones, the two Gunns and Joe Hardstaff (814 runs @28.06) provided a relatively youthful batting line-up, but the lower order was somewhat weak. Early in May, an innings of 103 against the Australians, Jones seemed to have a brilliant season before him but after taking part in the First Test match he went off his game, and the summer was far advanced before he recovered his form. However he finished up in great style, playing an innings of 274 against Essex at Leyton and making 123 a week later against Middlesex at Trent Bridge. John Gunn was far less aggressive in his methods compared to previous recent seasons, and was, for the most part, content to wait for runs. Wisden commented that “apart from a slight want of hitting power George Gunn (998 runs @33.26) is a batsman of very high class, his style most finished and his defences thoroughly sound”. Amateur Ralph Hemingway (541 runs @19.32), who appeared in 18 matches, improved upon his previous efforts but his batting was not quite of the same class as those mentioned above and he never appeared again for Notts after 1905. Tom Oates was the ever present wicket-keeper with 46 dismissals, including nine stumpings.

In terms of the bowling the leading wicket-taker was John Gunn with 91 wickets @25.83. Wass topped the averages with 66 wickets @22.15.  Hallam (58 wickets @22.39) was more effective than in 1904. John Pennington (14 wickets @34.42), a medium-pace left-hander who had earned a considerable reputation in Lancashire League matches, made no mark.

The only young professional to be given more than a brief opportunity in 1905 was right-hander Wilfred Payton from Beeston (150 runs @21.42 in five matches) his batting style resembled that of George Gunn with a strong defence and neat stroke-play.  Walter Speak of Attenborough took many wickets in club cricket with his leg breaks, but made no impression when given two championship matches. Wicket-keeper John Barnsdale played for Notts Forest CC – and made 25 appearances for Nottingham Forest FC – and was a director of the Raleigh Bicycle Company. He made his one and only First-Class appearance for Notts at The Parks as Oxford University were defeated by 88 runs in two days in June.

The absence of both John Dixon (although he did play versus the Australians) and William Gunn meant that the old brigade had now entirely gone and the average age of the County side was lower than it had been for many years. This ought to have had a beneficial effect on the fielding, but once or twice there were serious lapses in this department.

May 2020

Scorecards and stats can be seen here