CRICKETER OF THE YEAR - 1903

J Iremonger

J. IREMONGER, the only professional batsman of real class produced by Notts since William Gunn came out in 1880, was born on the 7th of March, 1877. He first played for Notts in the season of 1899, but there was little in his cricket that year to suggest the position he now enjoys. He was tried in five county matches, but apart from an innings of 39 not out he did nothing. Still, it must have been thought at Trent Bridge that there were possibilities in him, for in 1900 he became a regular member of the county eleven, taking part in seventeen out of nineteen engagements. He got on fairly well, but made no great mark, scoring 396 runs in twenty-six innings. He struck one as being just an ordinary batsman, with rather a stiff style, and we remember hearing a well-known county captain say of him that he had no strokes. However, there was a great deal more in his batting than most people supposed, and in August, 1901, he suddenly sprang into fame, making a hundred for his county in four successive matches. He started by getting 119 and not out 34 in the Bank Holiday match against Surrey, at the Oval, he and A. O. Jones putting up 134 together for the first wicket in the first innings, and gaining for their side a ten wickets" victory by scoring 144 without being parted on the third afternoon. At the end of the same week, Iremonger scored 134 against Essex at Leyton, and in the next two matches he made 108 against Derbyshire at Welbeck, and 102 not out against Middlesex at Trent Bridge, this latter innings saving Notts from defeat. He finished up the season of 1901 in an assured position, his record for Notts in county matches coming out at 1,077 runs, with an average of 44. He was in front of William Gunn, John Gunn, Shrewsbury, and J. A. Dixon, and only stood second to A. O. Jones, who had never in his life batted so well. On the wet wickets of the past season Iremonger fully held his own, playing many fine innings. His highest score for his county was 146 against Derbyshire, at Derby, but a far more remarkable innings, having regard to the quality of the bowling, was his 128 not out against Yorkshire, at Trent Bridge. He scored 1,113 runs in county matches and, with an average of 39, stood second to Shrewsbury. He had the honour of being chosen for Players against Gentlemen, at Lord"s, but was not seen at his best in the match, being bowled for 12. As a batsman, Iremonger does not look nearly so good as he is. He watches the ball wonderfully well, and has a very strong defence in combination with good hitting power in front of the wicket, but he is still rather stiff and has none of the easy grace of style which, whether they score slowly or fast, makes Shrewsbury and Gunn so delightful to look at. There can be no doubt, however, that he is a first-rate man, and brilliant as his recent records have been, it is not at all likely that the best has yet been seen of him. He excels at Association Football, playing back for Notts Forest, and gained his International cap prior to his great success in the cricket field.

© John Wisden & Co