County Championship             2nd (W15, D8, L3)

Captain            A W Carr


Nottinghamshire finished second in the Championship, repeating the success of 1922, and were again just behind the winners, Yorkshire.

There was an all round strength to the side with eight players making at least one century (five of those passed 1000 runs for the season) and two bowlers – Matthews and Richmond – taking more than 100 wickets (Staples and Barratt were not far short either).

Notts began the summer strongly and were undefeated in their first eight games.  Leicestershire were despatched by ten wickets at Aylestone Road, followed by a draw against Derbyshire at Trent Bridge.

The highlight of that match – indeed, of the season – was George Gunn’s 220 out of Notts’ first innings of 414; this was to prove the top score of Gunn’s thirty-year career with Nottinghamshire. Chasing 140 to win, Notts were 125-7 with John Gunn at the crease when time ran out.

Fine bowling by Richmond and Matthews, nine and eight wickets in the game respectively, forced a very strong Surrey side to follow on with Notts running out victors by an innings and 107 runs.

The same pair of bowlers were largely responsible for the 196-run margin of victory over Northamptonshire at the County Ground, supported by 100 from skipper Arthur Carr to set up a declaration and time to see out the game.

Against Glamorgan (in only their third Championship season), Notts were able to send out two bowlers – Fred Barratt and Frank Matthews – to rattle off the 14 runs needed to secure a 10-wicket win.  Barratt scored all the required runs, off just 2.4 overs!

Middlesex stubbornly defended their second innings in the match at Trent Bridge, taking 97 overs to make 221-3 and save the draw.

Nottinghamshire’s next match was the one truly dramatic game of 1923 – Notts scraping home by just three runs against a formidable Yorkshire side!

Batting first, Notts made exactly 200 and then dismissed the Tykes for just 134, Matthews with five wickets, sharing the load this time with Sam Staples.

Wilfred Rhodes – not for the first time – then got amongst the Notts batters and finished with 6-23 as the visitors logged a paltry 95.  Set 161 to win, Yorkshire were just about on target when Staples grabbed the last two wickets in the same over with 158 on the board.

Back at Trent Bridge, the home side made short work of Hampshire as Len Richmond took 7-30, dismissing Hants for just 45. They improved greatly when following-on but Notts had the simple task of making 45 to win, which they did for the loss of one wicket.

In a low-scoring match at Horsham, Notts were soundly beaten by Sussex, making 94 and 121 to Sussex’s 79 and, as the wicket eased towards the end of day two, 137-3 and a seven-wicket win.

Notts got back to winning ways immediately, with six victories – five by an innings – and a draw in their next seven fixtures.

Willis Walker made his maiden First-Class hundred against Essex as part of a first innings total of 430-9 declared; Notts looked to be coming up short when the seventh wicket fell at 197 but Walker, ably supported by Ben Lilley (60) and Fred Barratt (86) took them to a more than competitive total.

Essex made 177 and, following on, 143, to leave the home side triumphant by an innings and 110 runs.  Notts travelled next to Amblecote to play Worcestershire and won easily, by 191 runs.

The next home game saw a record set that still stands 100 years later.  Frank Matthews was almost single-handedly responsible for the innings victory over Northants at Trent Bridge.

His figures of 8-39 and 9-50 gave him a match return of 17-89 that are still the best match figures for Notts!

The batters were very much to the fore in the next big win – Wilf Payton (154) and Arthur Carr (165) putting on 323 for Notts’ fourth wicket.  A first innings of 421 was more than enough to beat Kent, who made 179 and followed to subside to 97 all out, leaving Notts clear by an innings and 145.

Glamorgan were also obliged to follow on in the next match.  Notts – Wilf Payton with another ton, supported this time by George Gunn with his second century of the campaign – made 431. The Welsh side made 164 and 152; the visitors collected their third successive innings victory.

The next game was the only match not part of the Championship when the touring West Indies side came to Trent Bridge. It was a batter’s match – Nottinghamshire made 353 and 347, the West Indies replied with 317 and an unbroken opening partnership of 219 to ensure the draw.

Dodge Whysall made 148, at that point his top First-Class score and including his 1000th run for the season, as Notts chalked up 366 against Lancashire.  The visitors responded with 144 and 208 (Len Richmond 8-89) to lose by an innings and 14 runs.

Hampshire got revenge for their earlier drubbing by inflicting only the second defeat of the season on Notts at Southampton.  Notts first innings was just 147 which Hampshire bettered for 205; the visitors rallied with 380 – Whysall making his second century in as many matches – but the home side made 326-6 to win by four wickets.

The weather ensured that the match against Sussex at Trent Bridge would be a draw but there was sufficient play to enable the Gunn brothers to pass a milestone each.  George passed 21,500 matches in First-Class cricket when he reached 38 in his innings of 54; John reached 20,000 County Championship runs when he made 68 of his eventual 80.

Fred Barratt showed a liking for the wicket at Worksop in the next match, taking 12-130 for the game, ensuring Notts a comfortable 124 run win over Worcestershire.

Day One of the home game against Yorkshire was washed out and the game petered out to a draw – the game mainly notable for Frank Matthews passing 100 wickets for the season when he had Wilfred Rhodes caught by Tom Oates.

It was heavy scoring that meant the away game with Surrey was a draw.  The visitors batted first and made 398 with Wilf Payton and Sam Staples – this his first century – each making a ton.  Surrey also had two centurions, Jack Hobbs (who had posted his 100th hundred earlier that year) and Percy Fender in their reply of 407. 

Notts second innings continued the run fest and they declared at 306-6; Hobbs made a rather less glamorous duck in the second innings but Notts could not capitalise end the game ended as a draw with Surrey on 102-2.

Lancashire redeemed themselves for the loss at Trent Bridge, beating Notts by ten wickets. Notts made 251, George Gunn 115, and Lancs 203 but with John Gunn and Sam Staples both unable to bat through illness or injury, the visiting side collapsed to 61 all out, which left the red rose county to make 111, which they did without loss.

Leicestershire were the next visitors to Nottingham and it was another game where the Notts bowlers were in the ascendancy, dismissing Leicester for 123 and 200 (Richmond 7-72), leaving the home side clear by an innings and 34 runs.

The last four matches of the season were all away from home, starting with a trip to Lord’s to play Middlesex. On this occasion, it was Notts that were hanging on for the draw when played ended.  Middlesex opened up with a modest 178 and Notts replied with 365, Joe Hardstaff making 113.  The home team rallied around Patsy Hendren’s 146 to make 388-5 declared and set Notts a target of 202; they were happy to settle for the draw at 118-5 at stumps.

Only an innings and a half were possible at Chesterfield so Notts and Derbyshire settled for another draw.  The grandly-named John Fillingham Bishop made the first of his three First-Class matches for Notts, standing in as skipper for the absent Carr and making 5no before rain stopped play.

Carr was back, and back among the runs, for the visit to the Crabble Ground, Dover and a 10-wicket win over Kent.  The home eleven made 162 and, with Carr weighing in with 105, Notts replied with 278.  Kent stuttered to 116 all out, Barratt six wickets, to leave Notts to knock off just one run to win.  Again, they sent in two lower order batters, with Len Richmond snatching the single of the fourth delivery.

At Leyton, the final game of the season rather limped to a draw, with some playing time lost.  Notts declared their first innings at 295-9, John Gunn 116, and Essex responded with 278. Batting a second time, Nottinghamshire were skittled for 111 but there was no time for Essex to mount a charge on any total.

After twenty-five years’ service, Tom Oates was granted a benefit by the Club who said, ‘his keenness and work behind the wickets show no falling off.’

Away from the field of play, the Club marked the retirement after a remarkable 52 years as scorer of Harry Coxon – and agreed that a Minor Counties match against Lancashire would be played for his benefit.

FS Ashley-Cooper, the cricket author and historian who had a brief stint as Notts CCC Secretary, published “Nottinghamshire Cricket and Cricketers,’ a history of the game from 1771-1923. All cricket lovers, said the Committee, owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Ashley-Cooper, and ‘this very interesting volume should have a wide circulation.’


March 2024

Copies of FS Ashley-Cooper's book are available to Notts members in the Wynne Thomas Library.