County Championship – 8th (W 5, L 5, D 7, Abandoned 1)
Captain – A O Jones
The wet summer of 1912 saw no change in the overall results for Notts. In a season when so many matches were washed out, their five wins were sufficient to retain eighth place in the standings.
The major success of the season occurred in early May when they achieved a victory over the Australians by six wickets due to some good bowling by William Riley (3-56 and 6-90) and an excellent 67 not out from John Gunn as Notts successfully chased 213. George Gunn had spent the winter with the MCC in Australia and, as in 1907-08, had had an excellent tour, playing in all five Tests.
Sir Abe Bailey’s pet scheme, the Triangular Tests, was staged in England in 1912. George Gunn was not selected for any of the matches in the tournament. Trent Bridge was the venue for Australia v South Africa over the August Bank Holiday, but only 2,365 people paid admission on the Holiday Monday and the Wednesday was washed out due to rain during the preceding night. Rain in fact ruined the tournament, and the fact that a quarrel between the Australian Board and its players reduced the Australian side to almost its second eleven did nothing to help the scheme. The experimental competition was deemed a failure and was never repeated.
Rain also badly affected the Championship – only three of the 16 counties managed to make a profit and even the Champions, Yorkshire, lost £1,000 on the season. Notts continued their irritating habit of being quite brilliant at times, mainly in the first two months of the season, and quite dreadful at others. Notts failed to win any of last eight games in the Championship.
The season started with a heavy defeat by an innings and 56 runs against the MCC at Lord’s. The win against the Australian tourists was followed by three successive wins in the County Championship. In the opening game, Leicestershire were defeated by an innings and 12 runs at Trent Bridge. The highlights were an innings of 113 from John Gunn and match figures of 11-109 for Tom Wass. Joe Hardstaff senior scored 197 as Notts scored 444 in the Whitsun game against Surrey. The visitors followed on as Wass had match figures of 9-160 – Notts winning by nine wickets. The third win was in the return against Leicester at Aylestone Road, John Gunn scoring 107 as Notts won by 10 wickets. There followed a rain-hit game against Kent at Trent Bridge. Sussex were trounced in two days at Trent Bridge. Having decided to bat, Sussex were bowled out for 49, Wass 6-16 and James Iremonger 4-33, Notts replied with 214. Sussex slipped to an innings and four run defeat, making 161 in their second innings, Wass 7-114.
A draw versus the South African tourists was followed by successive five wicket defeats to Middlesex at Lord’s and Yorkshire at Trent Bridge. The rain then started to have its say, a drawn game at Old Trafford was followed by a complete washout – the game versus Gloucestershire at the Spa Ground, Gloucester was abandoned without a ball bowled. Notts recorded their fifth and final win as local rival Derbyshire was beaten in two days by an innings and 147 runs at Trent Bridge, Wass took 5-50 and 5-20 as the Peakites were bowled out for 79 and 38. Notts drew successive games against Lancashire at Trent Bridge and Sussex at Hove, in the latter there were three centurions in the Notts first innings, namely Hardstaff (114), John Gunn (104) and Wilf Payton (107). Notts (115 & 78) suffered a one wicket loss to Gloucester (82 and 112-9) in a low scoring two-day thriller at Trent Bridge, Iremonger with match figures of 11-57 for the losers.
August dawned, with a rain returning as Notts drew at The Oval. They moved on to Canterbury where Kent won by an innings and 120 runs with Notts twice being bowled out for 58 with slow left-armers Colin Blythe (11-56) and Frank Woolley (9-58) bowling unchanged throughout the match. Notts suffered another innings defeat at Harrogate. Notts finished the season with two draws, at home to Middlesex at Trent Bridge and versus Derbyshire at Blackwell.
Notts only really had two bowlers – Iremonger (82 championship wickets @17.07) and Wass (105 championship wickets @17.37) – since Riley (36 wickets @24.38) did not improve as hoped and John Gunn bowled only 82.5 overs taking 12 wickets @26.58. The wet wickets suited Wass and though slower in delivery his leg-breaks was often unplayable. The two leading batsmen of the year, John Gunn and Hardstaff had figures which were most deceptive. John Gunn hit three hundreds, but his total aggregate in 23 innings was only 674 @30.63, whilst Hardstaff (770 @33.47) scored 311 in two innings and only 459 in his other 22. George Gunn (497 runs @20.70), after his winter success for the MCC, did not even reach 500 runs in Championship matches and had a top score of 76. For the rest, skipper Arthur Jones (553 runs @25.13), Payton (534 @24.27) and Iremonger (341 runs @20.05) could only point to modest returns. Edwin Alletson appeared in six matches, did nothing and was left out of the side. Tom Oates was the regular keeper with 33 dismissals in 17 games.
The only player new to the side who received much of a trial was the Warwickshire amateur, Alexander Crawford. He had played in seven matches for his native county in 1911, but in March 1912 wrote to Notts offering his services and was promised four matches – he was living in Nottingham. He did enough as an all-rounder to play eight games. The other trialist was a groundstaff youngster, Len Richmond who made his debut in the home match against Middlesex, bowled leg-breaks and googlies, only 5 foot 6 inches tall; he was to make his name for Notts in the 1920s. The other amateurs, Harold Hodges and Arthur Carr, appeared occasionally in the second half of the season.
The Notts scorer Harry Coxon was granted a benefit, the receipts of the August Bank Holiday game at Trent Bridge. Receipts were £51.4s and expenses £1.12s.10d. Another odd item in the accounts was £20 for the repairs to the stable. A horse continued to be used for the mowing machine and heavy roller until the 1920s.
In the winter of 1912-13 Alletson was approached by Derbyshire, but the Notts Committee refused to release him and guaranteed him at least eight matches in 1913, plus winter pay of 10 shillings per week.