General News | 30th July 2008

From Notts To Durham

Club Historian Peter Wynne-Thomas looks back at the players that have moved from Nottinghamshire to Durham over the years.

Chris Scott, who acted as understudy to Bruce French for eleven years, moved from Trent Bridge to Durham in 1992 and immediately secured the place as his new county’s principal wicket-keeper. He made 66 first-class appearances for his adopted county before retiring in 1996. He shared the wicketkeeping duties with David Ligertwood in his final summer.

Born in Lincolnshire, Chris played in the Notts Colts team, which competed in the Bassetlaw League, in 1980. He joined the playing staff at Tent Bridge in 1981 and made his first-class debut in the same year. For five seasons his first team appearances were extremely limited, but when Bruce French was prompted into the Test arena, Scott filled the vacacny in the County side. In 1988, French missed much of the summer due to a finger injury and Scott played in 19 Notts first-class matches, taking 49 catches and two stumpings. With French recovering from his injury and also losing his Test place, Scott's’first team appearances in 1990 and 1991 dwindled, hence his move to Durham for the 1992 season.

William Rew Smith was born in Luton in 1982 and made his debut for Nottinghamshire in 2002, he appeared for Durham University in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and represented British Universities, being captain in 2005. He was the Notts Second XI Player of the Year in 2005, but in 2006 decided to leave Nottinghamshire for Durham.

Mark Saxelby played for Durham in 1994 and 1995, scoring 181 against Derbyshire at Chesterfield on his Championship debut. He appeared in 24 first-class games for the county, scoring 1,353 runs at an average of 29.41. He had received his Durham County cap in his first season. Saxelby’s first-class debut had been for Nottinghamshire in 1989 and he played for Notts until 1993. After leaving Durham he appeared for Cheshire in 1996. He joined Heanor as a professional in 1999 and batted so successfully – he hit 2600 runs at an average of 60 in two seasons - that in 2000 he made his first-class debut for Derbyshire, but he only played in two games, the second being a NatWest Trophy match. He passed away in October 2000.

Fred Butler, a nephew of George Parr and a native of Radcliffe, made his debut for Notts in the traumatic summer of 1881 when the major Notts players staged a strike. He held his place in the side all year due to some useful batting performances. Three ducks in his three innings of 1883 seemed to signal the end of his county career. He took a professional engagement in America with the Staten Island Club, but returned to England in 1887, being engaged by Sunderland.

He re-appeared in the Notts side occasionally over the four years 1887 to 1890 and played one memorable innings of 171 against Sussex at Hove. He had qualified for Durham whilst residing in Sunderland and turned out for that County from 1891 to 1894. Fred Butler appeared for Northumberland in 1896, then went back to the United States, where he died in 1923.

John Butler played for Durham from 1898 to 1905. He was not related to Fred, but was a nephew of George Wootton. John played for Notts in 1889 in six matches as a batsman. When I interviewed his daughter some 35 years ago, she stated that he became a drifter and not too keen on work once his cricket career had ended. He died in Belper in 1945.

Martin McIntyre turned out once for Durham in 1882, when he was with the Sunderland Club. Like Fred Butler, he was a pro in the States for a few seasons. He played for Notts from 1868 to 1877, but the highlight of his career was his trip to Australia with W.G.Grace’s side in 1873-74.


I will close with the story that Grace told regarding McIntyre: ‘He was very good tempered and whenever he committed a slight mistake it was a very difficult thing to reprove him. Once, if not twice, during my Australian tour, the hospitality of our friends on the other side was too much for him and he sat up later than he should have. Although I gave strict orders that everyone should retire early, so that we might win our match the next day, I learnt one morning that he had been out late, and made up my mind to speak sharply. He appeared on the ground in good time, smiling as usual, although he had caught a hint of a storm brewing.

‘Good morning, sir!’ he said before I could get a word out. ‘McIntyre has just been talking to himself and won’t let it occur again.’

‘What could I say after that? I certainly could not improve upon it. However it was a very hot day and the wicket suited him, and he both batted and bowled well.’

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Will Smith

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