County Championship – Champions (W 15, D 4, L 0, A 1)

Captain            Arthur Owen Jones


An unbeaten season – one match was abandoned – saw Nottinghamshire secure their first County Championship title in the eighteenth year of the officially organised competition. The county had been nominated as champions on a number of occasions in the 1880s and 90s when the title was awarded rather than won on a points system.

This remarkable record was built on two outstanding bowling performances – Arthur Hallam had his finest season, taking 153 wickets at 11.78 to finish second in the national rankings.  Two places below him with 145 wickets at 13.57 was the perennial Thomas ‘Topsy’ Wass.

Hallam in fact took 168 First-Class wickets in 1907, more than fifty better than any other year, with twenty five-wicket hauls and six ‘ten-fers’; Wass also had his beat season, finishing with 163 First-Class wickets, seventeen five-wicket hauls and six ‘ten-fers’.

Few matches served to demonstrate their potential to deliver success than the season opener against the MCC at Lord’s. Rain prevented play on the first two days and when MCC started their innings on day three, Wass ran through to record the extraordinary figures of 4.4–3–3–6!

Cecil Sutton, a London-born architect who was educated at Nottingham High School, played his only First-Class match in this drawn fixture, scoring just one run before being stumped; he did not bowl and took no catches.

He played for Forest Amateurs and twice represented Notts Colts. After WWI he appeared for Julien Cahn’s XI and in 1925 designed the pavilion on the West Park ground for Sir Julien.

When the Championship got under way, Notts proved to be dominant, winning five of their games by an innings, three by nine wickets and two more by 200+ runs.

Northants were demolished by Wass and Hallam who bowled unchanged throughout both innings as the visitors registered 52 and 88 in reply to the home side’s 205.  The Notts opening bowlers took nine wickets each in the match (there was a run out in each innings).

Ted Alletson took two first innings wickets in the victory over Leicestershire but Hallam and Wass accounted for the other eighteen.  Hallam took a hat-trick – Vivian Crawford, John Shields and Willima Odell – in the second innings.  Notts made 232 in reply to the Leicester first innings of 134 and then dismissed the visitors for 56 to complete a second consecutive innings victory.

Surrey at least made Notts bat twice when they came to Trent Bridge. The home side made 232 and then set about the opposition.  Topsy Wass bowled the great Jack Hobbs for duck as he took 7-49, exactly half their total of 98; Notts declared their second innings at 330-5 with Jimmy Iremonger making the first century of the season (130).  Surrey did rather better but still fell 202 runs short, being 262 all out – Hobbs improving by just one run (lbw to Hallam).

Leicester were at home for the next match and improved, slightly, on their earlier defeat, this time losing by nine wickets. Wass and Hallam – almost inevitably – shared all the wickets as the home side made 134 and 68; Notts reached 137 for a meagre first innings lead and were 66-1. Jimmy Iremonger passed 10,000 First-Class runs in making 22 of those 66 runs.

The home match against Yorkshire fizzled out to a damp draw with only 29 overs possible across three days.

Hallam and Wass again took all the wickets as Sussex were beaten by six wickets at Hove. John Gunn made 109 out of Notts’s 219 in reply to home side’s 81. Sussex made a better fist of their second innings, reaching 202. But Notts eased home.

Bowlers dominated the only close game of the season, away to Essex at Leyton.  It was the home quicks that did the damage, Walter Mead and Bill Reeves sharing all twenty Notts wickets.  Batting first, Notts made 100 which proved enough for a handy first innings lead when Essex were 59 all out (Wass 4, Hallam 6); Notts did scarcely better, making 76 and setting the home side a gettable 117 run target. They feel just short, making 110 (Arthur Hallam 7-38).

The return match with Sussex produced another nine wicket win – the visitors batted first and made 168 to which Notts replied with 202. Sussex then made 124, leaving Notts to make 92-1 and wrap up the match.

In the ninth Championship fixture, Peter Perrin of Essex did something that no other batter had achieved thus far in 1907 – he scored a century off the Notts bowlers. His 105 enabled the visitors to make 335 which Notts bettered by 29 runs, making 364 of which skipper Jonah Jones made 164.  John Gunn got into the wicket-taking action when Essex batted again, taking 5-62 as they subsided to 190 all out.  Time was against Notts and the match ended with the home side 49-1 at close.

Time and the weather meant that Lancashire’s visit to Trent Bridge finished in a low scoring draw and the next match fared even worse.  The fixture against Yorkshire at Fartown, Huddersfield, was abandoned without a ball being bowled. Extraordinarily, this meant that the two games between potentially the strongest sides in the Championship produced fewer than thirty overs across a possible six day’s play.

Derbyshire were next to feel the full force of the Trent Bridge attack, making 78 and 105 in reply to the Nottinghamshire first innings of 290, leaving the hosts clear by an innings and 107 runs.

The next win was almost as emphatic – Gloucestershire forced to follow on after a first innings of 160 in response to Notts’s 322; Hallam had another seven-wicket haul as Gloucester made 124 and lost by an innings and 38 runs.

Back at Lord’s to play Middlesex, Notts won a fairly evenly balanced contest by 13 runs. The visitors made 292 and 117 – Tom Tarrant taking 9-49 – Middlesex replied with 257 and 139. Arthur Hallam took 8-67, at that time his best figures.

John Gunn contributed his second century of the season (and only Notts’s third), scoring 107 as the home team declared their second innings closed on 319-5 against Northants.  Having made just 120 in the first innings, the visitors faced an uphill task to save the game and lost by 239 runs, being 194 all out.

Against Surrey at The Oval, Notts were hanging on for the draw having faced the one really dominant innings by an opponent to date.  Surrey made 283 and Notts looked comfortable when Wilf Payton made 149no (his first Championship hundred) to see the visitors to 350.  Tom Hayward (131no) and Ernie Hayes (104) added 190 for the second wicket, enabling Surrey to declare at 313-2.  Notts were struggling at 128-5 when stumps were drawn.

Another game where the bowlers were in the ascendancy followed at the Spa Ground, Gloucester.  The home team 198 and 183, Notts slipped to 151 all out in their first innings – George Dennett, who was to finish top of the national bowling ranks with 184 wickets, took 6-79.  Chasing 231 to win, Notts got there with two wickets to spare, Payton 91no.  John Gunn passed 10,000 First-Class runs in this match.

Nottinghamshire’s next match was against the South African tourists; the visitors made 258 and 199, Notts made 296, Joe Hardstaff 124, and 164-5 to win by five wickets.

Back in Championship action, Notts despatched near neighbours Derbyshire, needing just five second innings runs to complete a nine-wicket win. Derbyshire made 62 and 95, so Nott’s meagre 153 was almost sufficient on first innings alone.

Wass and Hallam each took their 150th wicket of the season against Middlesex at Trent Bridge. ‘Plum’ Warner carried his bat for 65 as Middlesex made 130 in their first innings; Notts scraped a first innings lead of just ten runs then dismissed the visitors for 99.  They then chased down the required runs, making 91-5 to win by five wickets.

The round of Championship matches ended as it had begun with Wass and Hallam sharing all the wickets to fall to bowlers – Archie MacLaren had the dubious distinction of being run out in both innings – as Lancashire were beaten by an innings and 131 runs. The match was played at Aigburth, the home side making 82 and 37 in reply to Nottinghamshire’s 250.

The final match of the season was the then traditional fixture between the champion county and the ‘The Rest’, played at The Oval.  Warner made a hundred in each innings – 116 and 113no – as a strong side totalled 297 and 235-1 declared; Johnny Tyldesley (114no) shared a 222-run unbroken stand with Warner.

Notts had made only 179 in the first innings but resisted better in the second – closing on 211-3 with John Gunn on 105no.

Thus Nottinghamshire finished the season undefeated in all First-Class games and topped the table. Worcestershire and Yorkshire tied for second place.

Such was the dominance of ball over bat in this season that of the 37 innings played against Notts in the Championship, 14 were under three figures!

The achievement was reported to members by the Committee thus – ‘The County once more attained the position of Champion County, going through the whole season without a defeat. In achieving this honour, the Committee fully recognize the efforts of the Team, which, captained by Mr. Jones in a manner beyond all praise, played throughout the season with great vigour and pluck. Every man did his best and worked hard for the good of the side. Hallam and Wass were almost invincible and to their performance the result was greatly due.’


December 2023

Scorecards and stats can be seen here