August 8 2019 marks the 110th anniversary of the birth of a man whose name will forever be inextricably linked with Nottinghamshire cricket, as well as one of the most controversial Test series of all time.
Bill Voce was born in Annesley Woodhouse on 8th August 1909, but it was to be in Australia where he would make his biggest impact on cricket.
The 1932-33 Ashes series will be forever remembered as amongst the bitterest to be contested, due largely to the England team’s strategy of short-pitched bowling aimed squarely at the opposition batsmen.
This so-called ‘leg theory’ was designed to strike fear into the Australian batsmen, and contributed to a series victory for England.
Voce and his Nottinghamshire teammate Harold Larwood would be the players required to carry out the visiting side’s blueprint, the pair bowling aggressively and inflicting several bruising injuries on the opposition batsmen as England won the series 4-1.
It would prove to be the peak of a career that began several years earlier at Trent Bridge.
Recommended to Nottinghamshire following trials for the 1926 season, in 1927 Voce made his county debut.
He made the perfect start to his county cricket career with impressive figures of 5-36.
The left-armer’s form would blossom in the 1929 season as Voce, now having largely abandoned spin in favour of swing bowling, was selected for England’s tour of the West Indies.
He would be a regular part of the Test setup in the run-up to the infamous Bodyline series, but a drop-off in form and the political fallout that followed restricted his international appearances.
In county cricket, however, he continued to prove his prowess. Voce took over 100 first-class wickets in the 1935 and 1936 seasons, and proved a handy hard-hitting batsman.
Voce finished his career with 1558 first-class wickets, 98 of them taken in 27 Test appearances, but it would be the 15 he took in the Bodyline series that would come to define his career.
He died in 1984, aged 74, and is honoured with a statue in Kirby-in-Ashfield, near the place of his birth.
The statue captures Voce waiting in the field as his county compatriot Larwood slings down another of the short-pitched deliveries that the Nottinghamshire duo would ultimately be remembered for.
There are three further opportunities to catch the Outlaws in T20 action at Trent Bridge this summer, with the next home game under the lights against Derbyshire Falcons on Friday 16 August.