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Memory Match: Nottinghamshire vs Yorkshire

— 19 September 2021

Over 40 years ago Yorkshire were given a challenging target in a match at Trent Bridge. Paul Dyson takes a look back over the whole game.

July 9, 11, 12, 1977 at Trent Bridge: Nottinghamshire 279-8 (RA White 90) & 243-1dec (MJ Smedley 130*, PD Johnson 106*); Yorkshire 200 (DL Bairstow 65, CEB Rice 4-50) & 323-5 (G Boycott 154, B Leadbeater 71, A Sidebottom 57*). Yorkshire won by five wickets.

All of the first seven years of the 1970s had seen Nottinghamshire finish in the bottom half of the Championship table. Yorkshire were not having a great decade either, having only one top-half finish in addition to its fourth place in 1970 and runners-up spot in 1975. The hosts had started the 1977 disastrously, not winning a single game of their first 11 encounters, losing five and drawing six. In complete contrast, Yorkshire had yet to experience defeat; it had won four and drawn seven if its first 11 games. With each county playing a total of 22, this match, in which the advantage swung one way and then the other, was being staged just after the halfway point of the campaign.

Geoff Boycott won the toss for Yorkshire and inserted the opposition who almost reached the 50-mark without losing a wicket but then lost two in quick succession, both to the fast-medium of Arnie Sidebottom. South African Clive Rice and skipper Mike Smedley then shared a half-century partnership but more inconsistent batting saw the total slip to 126 for five. Bob White, a left-handed batsman who had made his debut for Middlesex almost 20 years previously, then came to the wicket and changed the course of the innings. He shared in two half-century stands in the process of making 90 and was the main reason for his side making 279 for eight in the 100 overs which were allocated at that time. Sidebottom finished with three wickets as did Howard Cooper. Yorkshire made a poor start in reply, slipping to 24 for three, two of these to Rice, before reaching close of play on 33 for three.

It was not long on the second day before Yorkshire lost night-watchman Cooper to give Rice another wicket and the innings continued to falter and reached a low point of 97 for six. Wicket-keeper David Bairstow then repeated White’s rescue act but his 65 did not receive such good support. He shared a half-century stand for the eighth wicket with Mike Bore but his side left 23.1 overs unused and were all out for exactly 200 which gave the home team a lead of 79, the lively Rice finishing with four for 50. Yorkshire were hampered by an injury to John Hampshire who had to retire hurt early in the innings and who came back at the fall of the ninth wicket but too late to make any impact. Cooper soon struck in Nottinghamshire’s second innings – before a run was on the board – but Paul Johnson and Smedley settled down to some comfortable batting and the hosts were 152 for one by close of play.

The overnight pair continued to thwart Yorkshire’s bowlers; Smedley reached his century first and made the inevitable declaration just after Johnson had reached the same milestone, the unbeaten partnership being responsible for all of Nottinghamshire’s 243 runs. Yorkshire’s target was 323 in 280 minutes – a formidable challenge, as Wisden described it. They got off to an excellent start with an opening partnership of 176 between Boycott and Barrie Leadbeater (71). The middle order contributed less well, 131 being needed from the last 20 overs, and it was 232 for four when Sidebottom came to the crease. Boycott had reached his century and the pair shared a stand of 76 with some ‘resolute hitting’ before the opener was run out for 154 having been dropped twice. Bairstow then joined Sidebottom and the winning run soon came with ten minutes to spare, Sidebottom remaining 57 not out from his ‘dashing’ innings. Rice was wicketless and conceded more than four runs per over as did the left-arm fast-medium Peter Hacker.

Nottinghamshire’s season hardly got any better; it managed to win one match and that was at the very end of the campaign and came as a result of three declarations. Inevitably it came bottom of the Championship table. Yorkshire’s season deteriorated, however; it won only one more match, lost five and ended the season in 12th place, a drop of four positions.

Profiled player

In making 71 and sharing an opening stand of 176 with Geoff Boycott, it was Barrie Leadbeater who did much to set Yorkshire on its way to achieving an unlikely victory in this match. He was in his 12th season with the county having made his debut in 1966.

  • Barrie Leadbeater, who played a crucial role in Yorkshire’s victory at Trent Bridge in 1977.
  • Born in Harehills, Leeds, Leadbeater was the county 2nd XI’s leading batsman in each of 1967 and 1968 as he was trying to gradually establish himself in what was a very strong Championship-winning senior side. The retirement of Ken Taylor at the end of 1968 gave him more opportunities and he played his most famous innings. This was in the Gillette Cup final at Lord’s against Derbyshire when he, as usual, opened the batting and his 76, which held Yorkshire’s innings together, brought him the man-of-the-match award. In the November of that year he was rewarded by him receiving his county cap.

    A steady and consistent batsman, he possessed some attractive strokes but in a total of 147 first-class matches he made only one century, a score of 140 not out against Hampshire at Portsmouth in 1976. Although not regarded as a limited-overs specialist, his average in that format was higher than his first-class average – an unusual characteristic. Also unusual was the fact that he was awarded a benefit for the season (1980) after he had retired. In his 144 first-class matches for Yorkshire he scored 5,247 runs at 25.10 and 2,245 runs at 27.71 in 105 List A games.

    Following his retirement he continued to work in the game by becoming a very successful umpire. He stood in first-class cricket from 1981 to 2008 and also acted as a TV umpire in Tests and ODIs as well as working as a training officer for serving and prospective umpires.


    Results (home and away)
    Played Yorkshire won Nottinghamshire won Drawn Abandoned
    County Championship 206 77 26 103 5
    Non-County Championship 55 18 22 15 0
    Totals 261 95 48 118 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 43 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

    Yorkshire 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 6 SJ Mullaney Nottinghamshire Trent Bridge 2020

    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

    The photo of Barrie Leadbeater is by courtesy of Mick Pope