William ‘Bill’ Ellis was specially registered for the Nottinghamshire playing staff in 1947 as a fast right arm bowler and very useful lower order batsman. At the time of his moving to Trent Bridge he was also professional for Spen Victoria. Though only of medium height he was very strongly built and was considered a particularly difficult bowler to face. He was asked to bowl in the nets to the Australians prior to the 1948 Trent Bridge Test, but after a short barrage, it was requested that Ellis be replaced by a more amenable bowler!

Born in Robert Town, Liversedge, West Yorkshire, on 15 August 1919 he was educated at Robert Town C of E School and played his early cricket for Liversedge in the Yorkshire Council. In 1946 he had a trial with Yorkshire, playing v Staffordshire at Barnsley taking 3 for 45 in 18.5 overs, but was not given a further opportunity.

His chances in Notts Second XI in 1947 were also very limited but in 1948, he was the leading wicket-taker in the Seconds and was was chosen, in Harold Butler’s absence, for two Championship matches. He played v Leicestershire at Trent Bridge but did not bat or bowl, the match being almost entirely lost to the weather. His second game was v Worcestershire at Trent Bridge; he scored 29, (he batted left-hand), adding 64 in 52 minutes with Meads for the 9th wicket and took one wicket for 77 in the match.

Ellis left Trent Bridge to join Baildon Green in 1949, when he took 54 wickets at an average of 17.64. He remained with Baildon Green until 1955 moving to Eccleshill until 1958.

Ellis set up his own tool making business which produced moulds for the plastics industry, retiring in 1982, when his son took over the firm.

At one of the Notts Old Players Reunions he told the story of his first days at Trent Bridge, when he was rather upset that the great Notts batsman of the day, Joe Hardstaff, kept addressing him by his surname ‘Ellis’. Eventually he asked Hardstaff why and Hardstaff replied that he did not do it deliberately, Hardstaff thought that ‘Ellis’ was his Christian name, since a well-known Yorkshire cricketer of the time was Ellis Robinson.

Bill Ellis died in Dewsbury Hospital on 9 June 2007, aged 87.


July 2020

Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 381

See Bill Ellis's career stats here