The death occurred on 22 January 2019, at the age of 100, of ‘Bill’ Notley. An all-round amateur sportsman, he played for Nottinghamshire Seconds from 1936 to 1955, captaining the side jointly with Ramsay Cox in the Minor Counties Competition during 1954 and 1955. In that competition, his record in 27 matches was 82 wickets, average 18.53 and 667 runs, average 21.51. Notley’s outstanding performance occurred at Edgbaston in late July 1949, when he captured nine wickets for 86 in Warwickshire’s first innings and had match figures of 14 for 139. The following week with the pitches at The Oval generally designed to suit the wiles of Laker and Lock, the Notts Committee decided to reinforce the side’s spin attack by selecting Notley’s off-breaks to complement Peter Harvey’s leg-breaks.

Unfortunately for Notts nothing went their way; 15,000 spectators turned out for the Saturday Bank Holiday fixture, saw Notts lose the toss and enjoyed the home batsmen hitting 409 for five on a docile pitch. Notley, on his First-Class debut, bowled 28 overs described as accurate in line and length and took the solitary wicket of up-and-coming star David Fletcher.

The weather turned very uncricket-like on Holiday Monday, 10,000 braved the miserable conditions, rain threatening all day. Surrey batted for another hour before declaring on 491, losing one more wicket. Notley did not bowl. Keeton and Simpson gave Notts a promising start, but with three wickets down Hardstaff and Harris came together in an uncharacteristic fourth-wicket partnership that was so painful – the crowd slow-handclapping for a long period. Hardstaff, who headed the First-Class averages at the season’s end was at the crease for 100 minutes, making 19. Rain caused a break in play. When Notley eventually emerged through the gloom he was quickly dismissed by Alec Bedser for a duck. The third day’s play was completely washed out. It could not be said that Notley was given a fair chance in what proved to be his only First-Class match.

When work permitted, he continued however to play for Notts Seconds for the next six seasons. 

Born on 31 August 1918 in Mapperley, he began his serious cricket at Alexandra Park School, where he was in the Eleven for three seasons. His club cricket began with Lambley, then in 1934 he joined Casuals, a major club side at that time, and acted as captain and secretary of the club for a number of years, before retiring in 1962.

Notley served in the Royal Artillery throughout the Second World War, being stationed in North Africa, where he was briefly captured by the Germans and suffered a knee injury due to shrapnel - the latter accounted for his unusual gait!

Aside from cricket, he was a keen hockey player, a regular member of the South Nottingham Club and was chosen for Nottinghamshire as county captain. A member of Stanton-in-the-Wolds Golf Club for over 50 years, in his pomp he had a handicap of 3. Notley also played table tennis at a representative level.

After being demobilized he was in two minds whether to apply to join the Notts playing staff or not, but a firm offer from the Nottinghamshire County Council determined that he would spend the rest of his working life at County Hall. He finally retired as Deputy Director of Social Services, a post later filled by Mick Newell’s father.

A man of modest demeanour, he rarely spoke about either his wartime exploits or his success on the sporting field. Bill Notley was the embodiment of the old Amateur spirit that used to be the very essence of the British psyche. He and his family long resided in Ruddington, but five years before his death he and his wife Majorie moved to a rest home in Stone, Staffordshire. Majorie died in 2017 and Bill passed away in his sleep there. Whilst in the home, he was visited on a few occasions by Vince Lindo, who, like Notley, played only one First-Class match for Nottinghamshire.   

March 2019

Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 387

See Bill Notley's career stats here