General News | 25th April 2007
Looking back on Gloucestershire v Notts
Peter Wynne-Thomas looks back on past meetings between Gloucestershire and Nottinghamshire at Nevil Road, Bristol.
It wasn’t until 1893 that the Notts side played a match at Nevil Road - most of their earlier games in the county of Gloucester had been either at Clifton College, which is I suppose technically in Bristol nowadays, or Cheltenham College.
That first trip to Nevil Road is memorable for one of the many bizarre stories which have attached themselves to ‘Chawles’ Wright. Lord Hawke, who always enjoyed Chawles’ company, described him as a cheery soul who did not in the least mind giving himself away. Wright was batting and played a ball which lodged in the top of one of his pads. He picked it out and, on appeal, was given out, ‘handled ball’. On the plus side, Wilfred Flowers, the Notts and England all-rounder had W.G.Grace dismissed for a duck and Notts won that first encounter by five wickets.
The second visit to Nevil Road by Notts, in 1896, was a disaster. A spindly youth, C.L.Townsend took 12-87 in the match for the home county. Notts were bowled out twice for 99 and 52. No doubt mindful of that calamity, Arthur Shrewsbury and A.O.Jones reached 391 before being parted in the 1899 match, which at the time was the second highest partnership recorded in first-class cricket. It was not until 2000 that Darren Bicknell and Guy Welton set a new Notts record, with 406 for the first wicket against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
The most outstanding bowling performance in the matches against Notts at Nevil Road occurred in 1947. The off-spinner, Tom Goddard, aged 46, took 9-41 in Notts first innings and returned a match analysis of l5-81. Perhaps those advocates of youth should be reminded that Goddard bowled 1,451.2 overs that summer – it was exceptionally hot and dry, he took 238 wickets at an average of 17.30 and was the leading bowler in England. Notts lost the game by an innings.
Gloucestershire were financially in dire straits immediately before the First World War and were forced to sell their Nevil Road Ground to the chocolate manufacturers, Fry’s of Turkish Delight fame. When Notts went to Bristol in 1927, they played Gloucestershire, not on the Fry’s Ground, but on H.J.Packer’s Ground. Packer’s were another chocolate firm. In that match it was the turn of a Notts veteran to lead the way. George Gunn, aged 48, less three days, hit 116 in 150 minutes, when Notts were set 305 to win in 180 minutes. Notts’ victory came with 10 minutes to spare.
Youth however showed its mettle in 1983 when an 18-year-old scored his first ever Championship hundred - his name, Paul Johnson. At the time he was the youngest Notts cricketer to achieve the feat. For the opposition in that match a certain Chris Broad also reached his highest innings, 145. He was sacked by Gloucestershire the following day. In 1984 he joined the Notts playing staff.
Of the 43 matches between the sides at Nevil Road, Notts have won 13, Gloucestershire 12 and 18 have ended in a draw. The last game there was in 2005 when Notts won by an innings, with both Stephen Fleming and David Hussey contributing 90s. Notts’ most successful bowler was Ryan Sidebottom with eight wickets.