The season of 1938 was again a disappointing one. 30 matches were played, 7 were won, 11 lost and the remainder drawn.
In the Championship Table the county fell from 10th to 12th place. This result was largely due to injuries to some of the leading players. Voce had not sufficiently recovered from his operation to be able to produce consistently his best form, and Butler, who at the beginning of the season had probably never bowled better during his career, was taken ill with appendicitis in June and was not able to play again. The absence of match winning bowlers such as these was a great handicap to the side. Three fine wins in the last 3 matches redeemed the side from absolute failure, and the one against Hampshire in particular is worth recording. After Hampshire had a first innings lead of 107, Nottinghamshire replied with 349, to which Mr. Heane contributed 106. Hampshire required 243 to win. They had made 75 for 8, and with only two balls remaining to be bowled, they had 2 wickets in hand and a draw seemed certain, with the first innings points going to Hampshire, but Giles obtained two wickets with the last two balls of the match and Nottinghamshire just snatched a sensational victory of 167 runs.
The match versus Surrey at Whitsuntide which was lost by 11 runs would probably have been won if Hardstaff had not incurred a cut hand on the morning of the last day, an injury which also kept him out of the first Test Match. Arthur Staples suffered from sciatica and frequently was unable to play. It is hoped that the ill-luck in the shape of injuries, accidents and illness, of which the Club in recent years has had more than its share may now change. In spite of adversity Mr. Heane led the side with undaunted courage. He scored 1292 runs with an average of 30, which only Hardstaff and Harris, and the latter by a decimal only, exceeded; he also took 53 wickets, and fielded with his usual brilliance. Hardstaff headed the batting with the fine average of 58, nearly double that of anyone else. We congratulate him on his innings of 169 not out in the Test Match at the Oval staying with Hutton to enable him to make the record Test Match score of 364. Voce in the absence of Butler had to undertake the lion’s share of the bowling but he cheerfully accepted the additional burden.
Centenary. The 28th May, 1938, was the centenary of the opening of Trent Bridge ground by William Clarke. To commemorate this historic event a souvenir book was prepared under the editorship of that charming writer and cricket lover, the late Mr. E. V. Lucas. This book is a permanent addition to cricket literature. Numerous applications for copies were received from England and the Empire but the book was only distributed to members of the Club. The cost of the preparation and printing was wholly borne by the President, Sir Julien Cahn, and the thanks of the Club are due to him for his generosity.
The death of Mr. E. V. Lucas shortly after the completion of this work was deeply deplored by your Committee.
Sir Julien also supplied a loud speaker set on the ground which was to be inaugurated on the occasion of the Hampshire match on the 28th of May with an address by the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Douglas McCraith. Unfortunately rain completely ruined the Committee’s plans and no play took place. The address was given in the Pavilion to a few enthusiasts, and the High Sherriff of Nottinghamshire, Mr. Frank Burton, subsequently hoisted a new flag to commemorate the occasion. It was more unfortunate that the weather prevented the public from attending, and this caused a heavy financial loss to the Club.
The B.B.C. arranged a broadcast dealing with the centenary from Trent Bridge on 30th May in which the following took part:- Messrs. D. McCraith, W. A. Oldfield, W. Marshall, H. A. Brown, G. F. H. Heane, H. Larwood, W. Voce and J. Hardstaff. This was electrically recorded and subsequently repeated to the Empire. The Secretary received letters from listeners in various parts of the world expressing appreciation.
Harold Larwood and Arthur Staples have played their last matches for the Club. There can be little doubt that the name of Larwood will be recorded in cricket history as that of one of the best fast bowlers of all time. If he had possessed the physique of a Tom Richardson, or a Walter Brearley, he might still have had many years of bowling before him, but the intense strain required for a man of his size to bowl with such speed, took its toll, and accidents to his knee and foot shortened his career. This last season he was physically unable to bowl fast, and although he could have remained on the staff of the club for 2 more seasons he voluntarily offered to cancel his agreement, and this offer the Committee accepted. His notable performances on behalf of England and Nottinghamshire are too numerous to set out here. It is to be regretted that his career in first-class cricket of such a brilliant and stouthearted bowler should have terminated prematurely owing to physical causes.
Arthur Staples for many years has been one of the most useful all round members of the team. He always made his runs quickly, very often when they were badly needed and he was more than a useful change bowler.
Signed on behalf of the Committee, H. A. BROWN, Secretary.