John Andrew Afford was born in Crowland, Lincolnshire on 12  May 1964. A slow left arm bowler, he first came to notice taking 8-33 for Lincolnshire Under 17s against Derbyshire at Spalding in 1981. He also played for that county’s Under-19s in the same season and would represent the latter for three successive summers. He was particularly effective in the Cambridge Festivals of 1982 and 1983.

John Cope noticed Afford’s potential and invited him to the indoor nets at Trent Bridge during the winter of 1983-4.

Without any further trials, he made his First-Class debut for Nottinghamshire against Oxford University at The Parks in April 1984. Later in 1984 came his Championship debut against Lancashire at Blackpool when Peter Such was absent, nursing a bruised thumb.

Andy Afford joined the playing staff at Trent Bridge in 1985 and was leading Second XI wicket-taker, with 45 victims at 21.69 runs apiece. The winter of 1985-6 he spent in New Zealand, coaching and playing for the Wellington club side, Hutt Valley CC. It was to be the first of four winters that he spent in New Zealand.

He gained a regular first team place with Notts in 1986 but the two following summers were marred by injury; due to a slipped disc he missed about two months of the 1987 season and in 1988 he was absent almost all summer with a stress fracture.

Going out to New Zealand again in 1988-9, he took more than fifty wickets for Taita District and represented Wellington B. His fitness assured, Afford took also fifty First-Class wickets, for the first time, in 1989.

Awarded his County Cap in June 1990, he topped fifty wickets in each of the seasons 1991, 1992 and 1993. Midway through 1995, he lost his place in the First XI but in 1996 he bounced back, topping the Championship bowling averages. In 1997, due to injury, he did not play in a single game for the senior side and was released at the end of the summer.

The performance for which he will be best remembered came in the Benson & Hedges Cup semi-final of 1989; Kent, in reply to Notts' total 296-6, were 134-1. At this point, Afford bowled opener Mark Benson and went on to take three more wickets – four in 22 balls. This put Notts into the final (in which he took the wicket of Essex's Graham Gooch as Notts won) and won him the Man of the Match award.

He started the following season promisingly and was selected for the England A fixture against Zimbabwe in 1990. On the trip he played in two One-Day Internationals and the first ‘Test’ in Harare but the pitches were docile and he had to compete with Richard Illingworth for the left arm spinner's place.

In his career, Andy Afford took 468 First-Class wickets, with his best haul of 6-51 coming against Lancashire at Trent Bridge, and two ten-wicket matches to his name, against Kent and Sussex.

Andy Afford edited All Out Cricket and served as part-time spin bowling coach at Trent Bridge; a popular figure with fans for his enthusiasm and his wry sense of humour, which matched his cricket.

Afford was rhythm guitarist, backing vocals and Band manager of Graeme Swann's band, Dr. Comfort & The Lurid Revelations, currently 'parked up' as Afford describes it.   He is also managing director of a company called Stencil, a Design Studio based in the old Sneinton Market complex of Nottingham.

 

June 2020