Born in Manchester on 24 January 1947, Bill Taylor left school at 16 and began a three-year printer’s apprenticeship, which meant he turned down a place on the Lancashire staff in 1964. The right-arm fast-medium bowler did however make 11 appearances for Lancashire Seconds in the Minor Counties and Second Eleven Championships between 1964 and 1968, taking 15 wickets @27.13. His best figures were 4-36 versus Cumberland at Workington in 1964.
Between 1967 and 1970 he played for Leek CC in the North Staffordshire/South Cheshire League and his first wicket as a professional was Garry Sobers, then with Norton. Taylor was part of the League representative side which won the Rothmans Cup in 1969.
He made two trial appearances for Notts Seconds in 1970 having figures of 5-37 (7-83 in the match) versus Leicestershire Seconds at the Boots Ground in Lady Bay. As a result he was taken on the Notts professional staff for the 1971 season.
At the age of 24, Taylor made his Notts first-team debut against Hampshire at Dean Park, Bournemouth in April 1971 in a 40-over John Player League game, taking one for 20 off his eight overs, removing Gordon Greenidge leg before for nine. Six days later Taylor made his First-Class debut at Trent Bridge versus Glamorgan. Opening the bowling with Barry Stead he took 3-38 in the first innings. He appeared in 17 First-Class matches that season, taking 30 wickets with best figures of 4-19 versus Middlesex at Lord’s. He made 13 List-A appearances taking 12 wickets. In the words of Wisden: “Taylor was given an early chance to establish his place but found the transition from League cricket too exacting”.
The season of 1972 saw a vast improvement, Taylor claiming 35 List-A wickets with a best of 4-11 versus Sussex in a Sunday League encounter at the John Player Ground in Nottingham. In 19 First-Class appearances he had 65 victims, achieving five wickets in an innings four times, finishing second in the bowling averages to Barry Stead. In the last game of the season versus Warwickshire at Trent Bridge he achieved his career best bowling in an innings (6-42) and in a match (10-105), Warwickshire winning the game by four wickets. In the previous game at Bristol, Taylor’s 4-32 in the second innings helped bowl out Gloucester as Notts won by 42 runs, their only championship victory of the campaign.
In 1973 Taylor played in 18 First-Class matches taking 46 wickets; Notts finished in bottom place in the championship. In List-A cricket, Taylor got 19 wickets with the highlight a man-of-the-match performance of 4-25 at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield in the Benson and Hedges Cup as Notts won by 33 runs. The following year Taylor took 34 first-class wickets taking 5-83 (8-124) in a five-run defeat to Worcester at Newark; he also claimed 31 List A wickets @20.77.
In the first two months of 1975, Taylor was incapacitated by a foot injury and made his first competitive appearance for the First team in a Gillette Cup First Round tie versus Tony Greig’s Sussex at Trent Bridge towards the end of June. The game was to become the most talked about of his career. With Notts batting first, right-hand bat Taylor, a genuine number 11, came in with Notts 117-8 with batsman Peter Johnson retired hurt with a facial injury. Taylor proceeded to storm down the wicket swinging and carving in a manner more suited to a village green, but nevertheless with devastating results. He scored 63 off 31 balls hitting three sixes and seven fours adding 80 for the ninth wicket. On his dismissal Johnson returned to the wicket. Later, Taylor took 2-53 as he was named Man-of-the-Match with Notts winning by four runs. He received his County Cap later that season. Taylor started to become a limited-overs specialist, in 52 games between 1975 and 1977 he took 73 List-A wickets, whereas during the same period in 27 First-Class appearances, Taylor took only 36 wickets.
He finished his playing career at Trent Bridge after the end of the 1977 season when he asked to be released from his contract so he could take up a business opportunity – though the much-loved and devoted clubman promised to keep himself in shape in case he were needed.
In 95 First-Class cricket matches he scored 374 @6.44 with a top score of 26no versus Leicestershire at Trent Bridge. He took 211 First-Class wickets @29.81, six times taking five wickets in an innings.
In 122 List-A matches he scored 231 runs @7.96 and took 170 wickets @24.08. His best bowling in limited-overs cricket was 5-37 v Surrey in a Benson and Hedges match at The Oval in 1977. This ensured a 11-run victory for Notts in a game which Taylor was named Man of the Match.
Bill Taylor served on the Notts committee from 2009 to 2018, becoming chairman of the Cricket committee; he had a two-year term as Club President in seasons 2018 and 2019 and at the 2020 AGM was elected as a vice-president in recognition of his long service to the Club.
He is currently a Director of Wade Print & Paper Limited based in Newthorpe, Notts.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 458