Alan Wheelhouse, who died at his home in Caythorpe on 28 August 1998, had been Chairman of Notts County Cricket Club from March 1994. Rarely at a loss for words, he chaired the Club’s Committee with a certain panche and, just as imperative, a sense of humour. His ability to gauge the mood of a meeting meant that he noticed potential storms ahead, sometimes even before the combatants, and therefore was able to steer the discussion into relatively calm waters, with opposing camps satisfied with the outcome. He declared, when elected to the chair, that cricket was a game to be enjoyed and committee members ought not to treat a visit to the ground as if it was an undertakers’ outing. He greeted visitors to the ground with warmth, making the least important feel welcome.
Wheelhouse’s legal training was of great value to the County Club. His period as Chairman saw some dramatic changes both at Trent Bridge and at Lord’s, where he served both as Chairman of the Resistration Committee and as a member of the Working Party that had the task of introducing the England and Wales Cricket Board. When he was diagnosed as suffering from cancer, he refused to allow the disease to prevent his active participation in the running of the County Club and attended meetings assiduously until within a few weeks of his death.
Alan Wheelhouse was born in Nottingham on 4 March 1934. As a youngster he lived in Sherwood and was educated at the Seely School and Nottingham High School. He gained a place in the High School 1st XI when only 15 and captained the school in his final two seasons, 1952 and 1953. As a right-arm medium-fast bowler, he took 29, 30 and 34 wickets from seasons 1951 to 1953. His left-hand batting was of little consequence, though he was amused to discover himself second in the school averages in 1953, aided by numerous ‘not outs’.
Going up to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, he gained a place in the University side of 1958 and was awarded his Blue the following summer.
Going down from Cambridge, he joined the Nottingham firm of Freeth, Cartwright and qualified as a solicitor in 1961. His work meant that he could not afford the time of play more than the very occasional game for Notts Seconds, though he was frequently found in the Notts Cricket Association representative sides and in June 1961 made a single first team apperance v Glamorgan at Trent Bridge, scoring nought not out and two and, over two innings, bowling 4 for 95. However he was one of the mainstays of Old Nottinghamians CC and captained that club, starting in 1968. He was a fearsome competitor in local cricket; his bowling may have looked rather ordinary on the bland pitches at Fenner’s, but on the more ambiguous pitches round the Nottingham club circuit, batsmen held him in some awe. He continued to take part in local games until 1989.
The season he retired from playing cricket he was elected as President of the Notts Cricket Association, having the previous year been co-opted on to the County Committee, he therefore was the single link between the two major cricketing committees of the county, a most important role. He completed eight years as President of the Cricket Association and then became the first chairman of the newly formed Notts Cricket Board, a post he held at the time of his death.
Overall in 17 first-class matches for Cambridge University and Notts he scored 133 runs @7.00 and took 48 wickets @35.52, with a career best of 4-69 versus Derbyshire at Fenner’s in 1959.