Nottinghamshire’s cricketing history is packed with families – the Dafts, the Parrs, the Gunns and, in modern times, Chris and Stuart Broad. Fathers and sons, uncles and nephews, and, of course, brothers have played for the county throughout the 180+ year history at Trent Bridge.
In the first post-WWI season of 1919, two brothers made their debuts for Notts, though not in the same match. William and Benjamin Flint, born three years apart in Underwood towards the end of the 19th Century, did play a few games together but it was Bill Flint that went on to have the longer playing career, finishing his time at Trent Bridge in the championship winning season of 1929.
Ben played just two seasons of First-Class cricket but went on to a long career as an umpire, standing in more than 100 matches. He can also lay claim to a strong link with one of the most important figures in 20th Century women’s cricket – his son Derrick married the pioneering player and administrator Rachael Heyhoe-Flint.
Bill Flint, born 21 March 1890, made 145 appearances over ten years as an effective all-rounder for Notts. He made his debut against Middlesex at Lord’s in May 1919 and played his final First-Class game in August 1929, away at Northamptonshire. During his final season, the club granted Bill Flint a ‘Complimentary Match’ (in effect a benefit game) v Leicestershire Second XI as a gesture of appreciation.
William had already enjoyed a distinguished career in league football before turning his attention to cricket. He made his debut for Notts County FC in 1908 and captained the club when they won promotion to the top tier of English football in 1923.
His right-arm medium pace bowling captured 6-23 on debut against Middlesex at Lord’s in May 1919, which proved to be his best figures, and he registered three first-class hundreds - scoring exactly 100no in consecutive seasons, 1926 and 27, and with a top score of 103. An honourable man, when he trod on his wicket against Middlesex at Lord’s in 1927 but was given not out by an unsighted umpire, he gave his wicket away with the very next ball.
He enjoyed that testimonial fixture in 1929 after taking 236 wickets (including six 5-fers and ten wickets in a match once) and scoring 6,971 runs in his 145 matches.
Born in Underwood on 12 January 1893, Ben Flint made his debut against Sussex at Brighton later in May 1919. A right-arm fast bowler who offered very little with the bat, his career in county cricket was limited to ten matches in 1919 and three in 1920; in all but the last two of those games, his elder brother Bill was in the same Notts team.
His career record of 18 wickets in 20 overs was unremarkable but he spent five years on the First-Class umpires list after retiring from playing the game. Ben stood in 117 matches, mostly in the County Championship but he also officiated in games between touring sides and county XIs. That included Derbyshire v the all-conquering 1948 Australian team in which Bradman (naturally), Arthur Morris and Neil Harvey made hundreds and Ray Lindwall took 11 wickets.
His son Derrick, who appeared 10 times for Warwickshire in 1948 and 1949, was married to Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, captain of the England Women's cricket team and the first female cricketer to hit a six in a test match. Their son Ben played three times for Sir JP Getty’s XI at their home ground at Wormsley.
Rachael Heyhoe-Flint captained the England side for 12 years from 1966, leading them to victory at the inaugural Women's World Cup in 1973, a competition that she had been instrumental in establishing.
In 2004 she became the first woman to serve on the committee of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and served on the England and Wales Cricket Board. She was the first woman to be inducted into the ICC's Cricket Hall of Fame in 2010.
Rachael Heyhoe-Flint was awarded the MBE in 1972, the OBE in 2008 and was made a life peer in 2011.
She was made an honorary freeman of Wolverhampton (her home town) and served as vice-president of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC.
Just to round off the links with Nottinghamshire, the national women’s 50-over competition is played for the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint trophy – contested by teams that includes the East Midlands side Lightning who play some of their home games at Trent Bridge.
Bill and Ben, the Underwood men, typify the cricketing families of the County.