Born in Stapleford on 28 June 1912, Dennis Watkin was a leg-break bowler and right-hand bat, chiefly associated with Sandiacre Premier CC with whom he played most of his cricket. He was introduced to the Notts XI in an emergency versus Kent at Trent Bridge on 29, 30 and 31 July 1937, when Larwood had been injured in a car crash and Voce was also out injured. The Hop County made 467-5d and Watkin’s lack of length on a plumb wicket cost him dearly – 113 runs for one wicket.

The Committee, however, were sufficiently impressed to offer him a two-year contract for 1938 and 1939, which he accepted. He immediately justified this faith by bowling in irresistible form against Leicestershire at Leicester. The home team reached 89 for 0 on an easy pitch and then Watkin came on and took 6-48 and Leicestershire were all out for 206. It proved to be his best bowling of his career. Watkin played regularly for the second team in 1938 and 1939 – taking the most wickets in the former season, whilst in 1939 he batted in much improved form scoring 271 runs @27.10. So far as First-Class matches were concerned, he appeared in five for Notts in 1938, but took only four wickets @74.50. In 1939 he played once, versus West Indies at Trent Bridge in July and this was his final county game. In nine First-Class matches, Watkin scored 47 runs @5.87 and took 15 wickets @49.86.

During the war he appeared with some success for Blackpool CC in the Ribblesdale League.  He also appeared in six war-time matches at Trent Bridge, and five on the North of England whilst with Blackpool.  After the war he re-appeared for Sandiacre Premier and played in some Notts 2nd XI matches.

Watkin, an outside-right, was better known as a soccer player starting with Stapleford FC in 1927 from where he joined Aston Villa (21 appearances, 5 goals) making his making his Football League debut at Leeds United in December 1932. He released in the summer of 1936 after their relegation. He joined Reading for whom he was the club’s top scorer in 1936-37 with 17 goals in the campaign, and played until 1939, scoring 27 goals in 96 appearances. His career was effectively ended by the outbreak of the Second World War.

Watkin resided in Bramcote where he died on 23 March 1983, aged 70 years old.

May 2020