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— 3 September 2018


1863 – 2016

High scores from two batsmen contributed to a drawn game 105 years ago at Trent Bridge which Paul Dyson takes a look back at. The photo of David Denton appears courtesy of Mick Pope.

June 5, 6, 7, 1913 at Trent Bridge: Yorkshire 471 (D Denton 148, BB Wilson 89, R Kilner 76) & 112-3dec; Nottinghamshire 331 (G Gunn 132, J Gunn 65, MW Booth 6-99, GH Hirst 4-69) & 129-3 (G Gunn 109*). Match drawn.

Having won the County Championship in 1912, Yorkshire started the following season in fine form. They had won four of their six matches before this game, losing only to Lancashire. Nottinghamshire had finished in eighth place (out of 16), and so far had four victories from five matches so this was to be an important game for both counties.

It is not known who Yorkshire’s captain was in this match but the only amateur was John Tasker; he had led the county earlier in the season so it may well have been he who won the toss and elected to bat. Wilfred Rhodes was the earliest loss, being run out for 19 but Benny Wilson (89) and David Denton shared a stand of 99 before the latter put on 117 with Alonzo Drake whose contribution was just 34. Another century partnership, of 112 for the fifth wicket with Roy Kilner (76), soon followed and this took the score to 376 for five. Denton was eventually caught off the medium-paced bowling of James Iremonger for an accomplished 148; he struck 127 fours and had batted for three-and-three-quarter hours, his driving and pulling being particularly ‘in grand style’ (Wisden). He did not give a semblance of a chance until he had passed the century-mark. By close of play on a run-soaked day Yorkshire had reached 420 for seven.

Tasker and Schofield Haigh helped the tail to wag on the second morning and the visitors were eventually dismissed for 471, both Iremonger and William Riley each taking three wickets. James Horsley had suffered most, him conceding 176 runs from his 33 overs. Nottinghamshire then lost an early wicket but George Gunn and Joe Hardstaff (46) put on 106 together for the second wicket. The former was then joined by his brother John and the pair took the score to the double-Nelson total of 222-2, made in 280 minutes, when stumps were drawn.

The final day began with the early loss of John Gunn for 65, the fraternal stand having produced 114, to give George Hirst his third wicket, before George Gunn’s six-hour innings came to an end, the batsman having scored 132. Wisden commented on his team’s ‘dogged tactics’ for which he must take much of the responsibility. The bowler was Major Booth who took six of the final seven wickets to fall, during which time only 62 runs were scored, and the home side conceded a lead of 140, having only just avoided the follow-on. Booth’s final figures were six for 99 and the remaining four wickets were all taken by Hirst at a cost of 69 runs.

Yorkshire would, ideally, have then liked to have thrown the bat but were pegged back by a disciplined performance from the home side’s bowlers. The visitors batted for 48 overs but scored only 112 for three. Riley was particularly miserly, his 13 overs conceding a mere 17 runs. After the declaration, therefore, there was little time for either side to force a victory. Thanks to ‘most dazzling cricket’ (Ibid.) in an attacking innings from George Gunn, who made his second century of the match, the crowd did enjoy some entertainment. Gunn’s 109 not out was made in 85 minutes in a total of 129 for three; he shared an opening stand of 66 with Garnet Lee whose contribution was four!

Both counties continued to have good seasons after this match but the eventual champions were Kent. Yorkshire were runners-up, but with four wins fewer were some distance behind them. Nottinghamshire finished in fifth place, an improvement of three positions on the previous season.

Man of the match

Of the five batsmen to have scored over 30,000 first-class runs for Yorkshire, David Denton is the least well-known even though he is in second place on the list. For about 25 years, however, he was Yorkshire’s number three. Stylish and adventurous, although not strongly-built, he had no particular favourite scoring strokes and was able to score equally well all round the wicket. His ability to score quickly meant that any advantage gained from the opening partnership was reinforced.

Born in Thornes, Wakefield, in 1874, Denton first played for his home-town club and then Castleford before making his debut for Yorkshire just 12 days after his 20th birthday. He played in only four matches in 1894 but in the following season not only established himself in the first-choice eleven but passed 1,000 runs for the first time – a feat which he would achieve on a total of 21 occasions. He was duly awarded his county cap and was the 25th player to receive one. His best season came in 1905 when he scored 2,405 runs at 42.19 and this led to him making his Test debut in the same year at Headingley against Australia.

  • That game was the only one of Denton’s 11 Tests on home soil. His other ten matches were all in South Africa and he made his only Test century at Johannesburg on the 1909/10 tour when he scored an enterprising 104 in only 100 minutes. Having been awarded a benefit in 1907 there was no resting on his laurels and five years later made the highest score of his first-class career – an innings of 221 against Kent at Tunbridge Wells. This was one of his three double-centuries and he also scored two centuries in a match three times.

    An excellent outfielder, Denton only rarely dropped a catch and his quick covering of the ground and fast returns made him one of the best of his time. Despite passing the 1,000-run mark yet again in 1920 he was aged 46 and ill-health forced his retirement. His incapacity meant the turning-down of the offer of a coaching position but in 1925 he returned to the field of play as an umpire and stood regularly in first-class cricket for six seasons, continuing to do so occasionally until 1937 by which time he had begun to act as Yorkshire scorer.

    Denton never strayed far from his roots and he died in Thornes in 1950 at the age of 75. Yorkshire had lost one of its greatest-ever batsmen, the scorer of over 33,000 runs and 61 centuries in attractive style.


    Results (home and away) 1890-2018

    Played 256, Yorkshire won 92, lost 48, drew 116, abandoned 5.

    Highest innings totals

    • Nottinghamshire 545-7dec, Headingley, 2010
    • At Home 490, Trent Bridge, 1897
    • Yorkshire 572-8dec, Scarborough, 2013
    • Away 534-9dec, Trent Bridge, 2011

    Lowest innings totals

    • Nottinghamshire 13, Trent Bridge, 1901
    • Away 24, Sheffield (BL), 1888
    • Yorkshire 32, Sheffield (BL) 1876
    • Away 4, Trent Bridge, 1869

    Highest individual innings

    • Nottinghamshire 251*, DJ Hussey, Headingley, 2010
    • At Home 236, AD Hales, Trent Bridge, 2015
    • Yorkshire 285, P Holmes, Trent Bridge, 1929
    • At Home 272, AW Gale, Scarborough, 2013

    Highest partnerships

    • Notts 270 (3rd), DW Randall (166) & CEB Rice (121*), Harrogate, 1980
    • Yorks 297 (5th), AW Gale (272) & GS Ballance (141), Scarborough, 2013

    Best bowling in an innings

    • Nottinghamshire 8-32, JC Shaw, Trent Bridge, 1865
    • Away 7-28, TG Wass, Sheffield (BL), 1905
    • Yorkshire, 10-10, H Verity, Headingley, 1932
    • Away, 8-38, W Rhodes, Trent Bridge, 1899

    Best bowling in a match

    • Notts, 14-94 (8-38 & 6-56), F Morley, Trent Bridge, 1878
    • Away, 13-45 (7-33 & 6-12), F Morley, Sheffield (BL), 1876
    • Yorks, 14-33 (8-12 & 6-21), R Peel, Sheffield (BL), 1888
    • Away, 13-176 (7-89 & 6-87), WE Bowes, Trent Bridge, 1933

    Most dismissals in an innings by a wicket-keeper

    6 (all ct), CMW Read, Nottinghamshire, Trent Bridge, 2013

    Most dismissals in a match by a wicket-keeper

    7 (3 ct, 4 st) M Sherwin, Nottinghamshire, Sheffield (BL), 1887

    Most catches in an innings by a fielder

    6 DW Randall, Nottinghamshire, Trent Bridge, 1987

    Most catches in a match by a fielder

    • 6 J Tunnicliffe, Yorkshire, Sheffield (BL), 1895
    • 6 AO Jones, Nottinghamshire, Trent Bridge, 1908
    • 6 JV Wilson, Yorkshire, Trent Bridge, 1961
    • 6 DW Randall, Nottinghamshire, Trent Bridge, 1987

    One hundred runs and ten wickets in the same match

    FD Stephenson 111 & 117; 4-105 & 7-117, Nottinghamshire, Trent Bridge, 1988

    A century and five wickets in an innings in the same match

    • W Bates, 102; 2-58 & 5-17, Yorkshire, Sheffield (BL), 1878
    • FS Jackson, 43 & 145; 0-10 & 5-37, Yorkshire, Headingley, 1894
    • JT Newstead, 29 & 100*; 7-68 & 0-3, Yorkshire, Trent Bridge, 1908
    • W Rhodes, 176; 5-68 & 0-7, Yorkshire, Harrogate, 1912

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