The first day of May 2021 marks the 50-year anniversary of Notts’ stalwart Bill Taylor’s First-Class debut for the club.
It was on this day that Bill first featured in a County Championship match, against Glamorgan at Trent Bridge.
Bowling right-arm fast-medium, he was among the wickets straight away taking 3 for 38 – his first victim being Tony Lewis, who would become England captain the following year.
A few days earlier, on 25 April, Bill made his Notts’ limited-overs debut against Hampshire in a John Player League game, taking 1 for 20 from his eight overs.
His maiden List-A wicket had been, if anything, even more illustrious; West Indian legend Gordon Greenidge being trapped LBW for nine.
Born in Manchester on 24 January 1947, Bill Taylor left school to begin a three-year printer’s apprenticeship, and although he turned down a place on the Lancashire staff in 1964, he did make 11 appearances for their Second XI between 1964 and 1968.
From 1967 to 1970 he played for Leek Cricket Club in Staffordshire and his first wicket as a professional was Gary Sobers.
In the last game of the 1972 season – during which he finished second in the Notts’ bowling averages to Barry Stead – Bill achieved his career-best First-Class bowling figures in an innings (6 for 42) and in a match (10 for 105), although Warwickshire did win the game by four wickets.
He missed the first two months of 1975 due to injury and returned on 25 June, in a Gillette Cup match against Tony Greig’s Sussex at Trent Bridge – a game that was to become the most talked about of his career and one of Notts’ most memorable days of the 1970s.
With Notts batting first, the right-handed Taylor, a genuine number 11, came in with Notts at 117 for 8 and Peter Johnson having retired hurt with a facial injury.
Taylor proceeded to storm down the wicket, swinging and carving with devastating results. He scored 63 off 31 balls, hitting three sixes and seven fours while adding 80 for the ninth wicket with Phil Wilkinson. Later, Taylor took 2 for 53 as he was named Man-of-the-Match with Notts winning by four runs.
These 63 runs represented over a quarter of all the runs that Bill scored in his entire 122-match List-A career, while specifically in his John Player League career the number of wickets that Bill claimed exceeded the total number of runs he scored.
Bill finished his playing career at Trent Bridge after the end of the 1977 season when he asked to be released from his contract so he could take up a business opportunity – although the devoted clubman promised to keep himself in shape in case he was needed.
In 95 First-Class matches between 1971 and 1977, Bill claimed 211 wickets at an average of 29.81, taking five wickets in an innings on six occasions; and in these matches he struck 374 runs at an average of 6.44 with a top score of 26 not out.
In List-A matches, Bill took 170 wickets at an average of 24.08, with his best bowling performance of 5 for 37 coming at Surrey in a 1977 Benson and Hedges Cup match.
He scored 231 List-A runs at an average of 7.96, with that 63 against Sussex being his only half-century for Notts.
Bill served on Nottinghamshire’s General Committee from 2009 to 2018. He also chaired the Cricket Committee during this time and served as Club President from 2018 to 2020.
When his term as President was completed, Bill became a Vice-President in recognition of his long service to the Club.
Meanwhile, he remains actively involved in business and is currently a Director of Wade Print & Paper Ltd in Newthorpe, Notts.
Tickets to witness Notts Outlaws’ defence of their Vitality Blast title in 2021 are now on general sale.