Ahead of Sunday’s Specsavers County Championship contest with Nottinghamshire, Brian Halford looks back at some of the most memorable meetings at Trent Bridge.
Warwickshire departed Trent Bridge in 1995 with a ten-wicket victory under their belts from a tussle which can reasonably be described as “Munton’s Match.”
Ten wickets in the game, including five in each innings, and a share in a tenth-wicket partnership of 73: this particular step towards the Bears’ retention of their championship title had Tim Munton’s pawprints all over it.
Skilfully as Munts bowled, it helped to have Allan Donald steaming in at the other end, of course. And after Warwickshire lost their seventh successive toss and the home side chose to bat, A.D soon got busy. He took three wickets while Munton worked his way through the batting, most impressively of all during the intense heat of the afternoon when he delivered a spell of four for 16 in 11 overs.
Nottinghamshire were all out for 166, after which Wasim Khan (68) and Trevor Penney (a glorious 144 with three sixes and 23 fours) lifted the Bears to 414. Penney was able to reach his century thanks to the tenth-wicket company of Munton who contributed an unbeaten 19 to that stand of 73.
Nottinghamshire’s batsmen then suffered a dose of deja vu as Donald took another three and Munton another five – 27.5-9-79-5 for match-figures of 50.5-19-116-10.
Khan and Nick Knight polished off the 28 runs needed for a ten-wicket win. It was Munton’s match – and soon to be Warwickshire’s title.
Trent Bridge is where, in terms of first class cricket, it all began for Warwickshire. Having been granted first-class status just 12 years after formation, they took part in the opening fixture of the 1894 season against one of English cricket’s ‘Big Six’ – and introduced themselves in style with a six-wicket victory.
After the Bears won the toss it was Billy Quaife and Herbert Bainbridge who christened the club’s first-class existence at the crease. Neither of them stayed too long but Ernest Hill secured himself a unique place in history by scoring the first century for Warwickshire in first-class cricket.
Hill’s unbeaten 139 lifted his team to 351 (from 206.2 overs) in reply to which Nottinghamshire mustered only 149, unpicked by the right-arm medium pace of James Whitehead (41.4-24-47-8).
Harry Daft, scion of the famous Nottinghamshire cricket Daft family, resisted with 54 and then again with 66 after the follow-on was enforced, but Warwickshire never relinquished their grip on the match. Whitehead took another two wickets and Teddy Diver (who had also recently played three games in goal for Aston Villa) took six for 58 to dismiss Notts for 275 and leave a victory target of just 74.
They were knocked off comfortably – and the newbies had taken to the first-class scene like a duck to water.
Warwickshire’s visit to Trent Bridge early in 2006 saw a young spin-bowling all-rounder by the name of Moeen Ali pitched in for his championship debut – and he rose to the challenge in a way which suggested that a very bright future lay ahead.
The Birmingham-born 18-year-old, who had come through the Bears’ system at Edgbaston, found himself going into bat on the first day at number eight with his team in trouble at 133 for six. Alongside the dogged Dougie Brown, Ali immediately showed his class, helping to add 70 for the seventh wicket and then, after Brown departed, advancing to a stylish 68. Ali’s runs were to prove crucial to the Bears’ 60-run victory in a low-scoring match.
In reply to 248, Nottinghamshire were restricted to 157 by Brown’s four for 49 and Jimmy Anyon’s three for 33. Ian Bell (79) and Jonathan Trott (84 not out) then ensured Nottinghamshire a daunting target of 377, at which they had a very good go, despite Russell Warren completing a king pair. David Alleyne’s unbeaten 109 proved in vain as Anyon took another four wickets and Heath Streak added three to dismiss the home side for 316.
Ali’s eye-catching debut was the story though. Here, clearly, was another excellent product of the Edgbaston system.
The nation was still reverberating with euphoria from England’s football World Cup triumph three weeks earlier when Warwickshire headed for Robin Hood country in August 1966.
And if the Bears innings-and-41-run victory at Trent Bridge did not quite evoke the same scenes of joy as had the hat-trick of Geoff Hurst (who, four years earlier, had played one first-class match for Essex), it was still a notable and statistically unusual success.
When a team’s first innings includes only two contributions above 20, they do not expect to win by an innings. But that was the case here as Warwickshire bowlers David Brown, Jack Bannister and Tom Cartwright reduced the Notts batting to rubble.
Brown (four for 34) and Bannister (three for 23) did most of the damage first time round as Nottinghamshire were skittled for 91. Warwickshire were then lifted to a significant lead by young batsman Neal Abberley (76) and skipper MJK Smith (118). Nobody else passed 18 – but it transpired there were enough runs on the board.
Brown took another four wickets, Bannister two and Cartwright four as Notts were unpicked for 134 (most resistance coming from future Bears wicketkeeper Deryck Murray, with 41) and beaten by an innings and 41 runs..