Many of these high profile players, including Sam Staples, William Whysall, Harold Larwood, Bill Voce and Joe Hardstaff junior all went to Kirkby Woodhouse school. The Nuncargate cricket ground, now the home of Kirkby Portland Cricket Club, has been graced by many of these players.
William Clarke (1849-1935)
Not to be confused with the two other William Clarkes who played for Nottinghamshire, one the long-time captain and founder of the Trent Bridge ground. William had a distinguished cricketing career. After his six appearances for the County he went on to be the professional cricketer at the Royal Artillery in Woolwich. He was known in Kirkby as "Cricketer Clarke".
Richard Lowe (1869-1946)
Richard was the youngest of the three Lowe brothers, but the first to play first-class cricket with Sussex, playing 15 times and scoring 183 runs and taking 22 wickets. He later went on to play for Glamorgan. Died in Kirkby in 1946.
Sam Lowe (1867-1947)
Sam only played once for Nottinghamshire in 1894, failing to take a wicket with any of his 55 first-class balls. Sam went on to play for Glamorgan and claimed the first ever hat trick for the Welsh County.
Tom Lowe (1859-1934)
The eldest of the Lowe brothers, Tom, like Sam, only played once for the County in 1894, making his debut at 35 years of age. He also played for Northants.
James Riley (1860-1937)
James only played twice for Nottinghamshire in 1898 and failed to impress, after previously being on the Oval groundstaff.
William Riley (1888-1917)
William Riley began his playing career with Newstead Colliery and went on to play 80 times for Notts between 1909 and 1914. Riley took 235 wickets in first-class matches and played alongside Edwin Alletson in 1911 when Notts all time tenth wicket stand of 152 was made against Sussex. In 1914 he played professionally for Oldfield Cricket Club in Staffordshire. Riley died from wounds from a shell splinter whilst fighting in Belgium in 1917.
Arthur Bradley Wheat (1898-1973)
Although born in Halam, Arthur is synonymous with Ashfield cricket having learnt his trade with Selston Town after moving to the area as a child. He joined the staff at Nottinghamshire in 1923 and made his debut in 1927, playing 91 times behind the wickets for the County when Larwood and Voce were bowling. Arthur was also a semi-professional footballer for Sutton Town and Alfreton Town. He became Notts scorer in 1947 until his death. Arthur later lived at Annesley until his death in 1973, when his ashes were scattered in front of the pavilion at Trent Bridge. Wheat was due a testimonial for Notts in 1939, but a certain Mr. Hitler robbed him of this honour!
With contribution from B. Wheat, Kirkby-in-Ashfield
John William White (1877-1958)
For a long time John was an understudy wicket-keeper, only ever playing three matches for Notts between 1902 and 1906. He eventually went to play cricket for Scotland. John also played football for Nottingham Forest.
Samuel James Staples (1892-1950)
13 Test Matches
Sam, born in Newstead in 1892, became a professional for the West of Scotland Cricket Club in 1919. He returned to Notts and made his debut in 1920. His run up was described as "dancing a fox trot" due to his unorthodox action. Sam made his test debut in 1927 and played in three tests. He was selected to tour Australia in 1928/29 with an MCC side, but Sam was struck with muscular rheumatism and returned without playing a match. He eventually retired due to a sciatica problem in 1934 and became a coach with Hampshire and in 1949 a professional umpire. By the end of 1949 both these engagements ended due to ill health. Sam was also landlord at the New Inn at Carrington after retiring. Overall Sam played 385 first-class matches, scoring 6,470 runs including one century and 19 half centuries and took 1331 wickets.
Arthur was the younger brother of Sam, making his Notts debut in 1924, where he took a wicket with his first delivery. Arthur had a long and successful career with Notts, becoming the first Notts player to exceed 15,000 runs and take 500 wickets. Arthur scored more than 1,000 runs in a season seven times. In all he played 358 first-class matches before he retired in 1938. He also played in goal for Mansfield Town and Bournemouth.
Joseph Hardstaff Senior (1882-1947)
5 Test Matches
At only 5'6" tall and looking very young for his age, there are numerous stories about Joe not being let into grounds by the staff as no one could believe he was one of the players. Joe made his debut for Notts in 1902 and became a regular in 1904, joining the MCC staff in 1906. His career continued until he retired in 1926. Also a test cricketer, during the 1907/08 tour to Australia he hit 1,360 runs including 311 in the five test matches with 3 half centuries included. The Australians gave him the nickname "Hotstuff" for his batting performances. After this tour however, he never played for England again. He played 377 first-class matches in his career, scoring over 17,000 runs and in his occasional bowling spells taking 58 career wickets. He went on to be a first-class umpire, officiating in 21 test matches between 1928 and 1935, until his son was picked for England and he could not officiate. Joe was also a footballer for Nottingham Forest. He is buried in New Cemetary East, Kirkby-in-Ashfield.
William Wilfred Whysall (1887-1930)
4 Test Matches
Born in Woodborough, Nottingham, "Dodger" Whysall moved to Nuncargate aged two and became a pupil at Kirkby Woodhouse school. During his first-class career as an opening batsman with Notts from 1910 to 1930 he scored 21,592 runs in 371 appearances, making over fifty centuries. Whysall is first and second in the Notts tables for most runs scored in a season in 1928 and 1929. He had a very unusual batting stance, standing square on to the bowler. In his international career he played four tests between 1924 and 1930 making 209 runs. He was Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1925.
Whysall died in an accident in 1930, with many years of cricket left in him having been recalled that year to the Ashes squad. He slipped whilst dancing and injured his elbow, which led to blood poisoning. The funeral, held in Mansfield, was believed to have been the largest ever to take place in the town. His benefit match for his family in 1931 raised then-record club receipts.
5 Test Matches
Born in Annesley in 1894 and a miner by trade, Fred made his debut for Notts in 1914 and took 8 wickets! In his debut season, aged 20, he took 115 wickets, becoming the first ever player to take 100 wickets in a debut season. Barratt's progress was halted by the war and he never quite reached his full potential, taking over 100 wickets In a season only twice more. Despite les this he still played in five tests between 1929 and 1930, taking five wickets in total. On tour to Australia and New Zealand, Fred asked for a crate of his favourite Brown Ale to be shipped out with him.
As a bowler for Notts he took 1,224 wickets and was no mean batsman either, scoring nearly 6,500 runs between 1914 and 1931 including two first centuries and 24 half centuries. Against Warwickshire in 1928 he scored a 101 century in just 70 minutes! It was Fred who discovered Bill Voce playing in local cricket and recommended him to Notts. Fred also played football at full back for Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday. Fred's brother, Percy Barratt, was also a footballer with Nottingham Forest and Blackpool.
Fred had a house built on Forest Road, Annesley, with a gateway of two brick pillions with a large stone ball on top of each one. These still stand today. After Fred retired he became a licensee in two hotels, one in Eastwood and one in Nottingham. Nephew Geoff played cricket for Annesley, brother Pip with Underwood, and Christopher Barratt (son of Pip) also now plays for Underwood.
With contribution from B. Lewis, Kirkby-in-Ashfield
Larwood MBE (1904-1995)
21 Test Matches
What more can be said about the most hated man in Australia during the 1930s? Harold Larwood is a legend, and the epitome of Nottinghamshire cricket. A coal miner from Nuncargate who went down the pit at the age of 14, played village cricket and moved up the ranks to represent his county and then become the greatest bowler of his and possibly any generation. Strongly associated with the famous 1932/33 'bodyline' tour, his genuine cricketing excellence is often overshadowed by controversy. The truth is that Larwood was quick. He could release lightning deliveries in excess of 95 mph with deadly accuracy!
Larwood began his Nottinghamshire career in 1924, won Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1927 and between 1926 and 1936 his bowling dominated county cricket, finishing top of the average tables an astonishing five times! In his 21 test matches between 1926 and 1933 he took 78 wickets and scored nearly 500 runs. Larwood was also very useful with a bat. His test career ended prematurely after the 'bodyline' tour, when England captain Douglas Jardine instructed his fast bowlers, primarily Larwood and Voce, to deliver fast short deliveries at the batsmen. Larwood was devastating and largely won the series single-handed, taking 33 wickets for less than 20 runs apiece, but the style of the victory caused great mistrust between Australia and England. Larwood refused to apologise for his bowling and was never selected for England again.
Larwood's Nottinghamshire career finished in 1938. During his 381 first-class matches he had scored 7,289 runs and taken 1,427 wickets. Larwood and his family settled in Australia in 1949, often returning to his home village where it began all those years ago. He passed away in Australia in 1995.
27 Test Matches
Bill Voce's name is often associated with his fast bowling partner for Notts and England, Harold Larwood. The pair even have a stand and a pub at Trent Bridge named after them. Indeed Voce was a great fast bowler. After Larwood finished playing for England and Voce was recalled in 1936, he was the test side's main strike bowler. Voce was born in Annesley Woodhouse in 1909 and began a career down the mines before making his Nottinghamshire debut at the tender age of 16. Voce began his career as a slow left arm bowler, but added pace in the 1928 season and never looked back, being able to use both methods when required. He made his Test debut aged 20 on a tour to the West Indies in 1929. He was the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1933.
Like Larwood, Voce was not selected for England after the 'bodyline' tour until he made peace with MCC in 1936. He went on to take 98 test wickets in his 27 appearances up to 1947. It was Bill's benefit year in 1939, and in 1947 he became a coach at Trent Bridge, playing when needed up until 1952. In 426 first-class matches he took 1,558 wickets and scored four first-class centuries on his way to totalling over 7,500 runs. In the 1933 season Voce ended with over 1,000 runs for the season. He was also a talented slip fielder, once taking seven catches in one match against Glamorgan in 1929.
Bill died in 1984 and his ashes were strewn in the Gardens of Remembrance at Mansfield Crematorium
Joseph Hardstaff Junior (1911-1990)
23 Test Matches
Joe played at the Nuncargate cricket ground before going on to play for Nottinghamshire in 1930 in a long and illustrious career that saw him represent the county 517 times and play in 23 test matches. Joe made the history books on his 1935 test debut when he and his father, Joseph Hardstaff Senior, became the only father and son ever to have represented England in Australia (although not in the same match!) During his 13 year test career he scored over 1,500 runs including four centuries. In the fifth test of the 1938 Ashes series, Joe scored 169 not out, with Len Hutton at the other end scoring 364. England's first innings score was 903 for 7 wickets. He was Wisden Cricketer of the Year that year. His highest Test score of 205 not out however, came in 1946 against India. Joe was a very popular and handsome cricketer and on a tour of India in 1937/38 was offered £1 for every run he scored by a wealthy businessman based in India.
His first-class career ended in 1955 and his record speaks for itself, nearly 32,000 runs scored and 83 centuries. After he retired, he played for Auckland Cricket Club in New Zealand.
With contributions from Betty Smitheringale, Kirkby-in-Ashfield
George William Robinson (1908-1967)
As a left arm spin bowler, George played 21 matches for Notts between 1930 and 1936. He left Notts in 1933 to join the Police Force before returning for one last game as an amateur in 1936. He took 46 wickets in total for the county.
Joseph Herbert Buxton (1912-1992)
A fast bowler, Joseph Herbert Buxton originally played for Bentinck Colliery and played just one championship game with Notts in 1937. In 1936 he was invited to play against a Nottingham City Police XI.
With contributions from Mrs Slater, Annesley
John Cotton (1940- )
John was born in Newstead and despite being prone to injury had a long and successful career with Notts (1958-1964) and Leicestershire (1964-1969). In his career of 239 matches John took 652 wickets in first-class cricket and played limited overs cricket with a great degree of success.
Paul Adrian Taylor (1939-)
Paul Taylor played for Kirkby Park Cricket Club at the same time as Pat Oakden. He trialled with Notts in 1954 and made the first team in 1958, going on to play six times in his only season in the first team. After going to do National Service he did not return to county cricket. Paul now lives in Spain.
Robert Patrick Oakden (1938-)
Pat began his local career playing for Kirkby Park Cricket Club, then after having trials for English Grammar Schools progressed to play for Notts Youth XI. Pat's career was halted by National Service in 1956, although his cricket continued, representing the Royal Navy team on several occasions. Pat made his Notts debut in 1960, playing in the same time as Alan Gill. Pat made eight appearances between 1960 and 1961 and is the only player to play first team cricket for Notts and represent the county at golf.
His first-class career ended in 1962 after a series of injuries, the most severe being to his left Achilles tendon. After a career in the engineering trade, Pat is now a consultant to the licensed trade and still lives in the area.
Written with anonymous contributions
Joseph Hardstaff (1935- )
Joseph played two first-class matches in 1961/1962 for the Free Foresters, although he never represented a county. The son of Joe Hardstaff Junior, he is the third generation of Hardstaffs to play first-class cricket, and at 6'5" is over a foot taller than his grandfather. Joe joined the RAF after leaving Nottinghamshire and later became secretary at Middlesex.
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