Born in Edwinstowe on 30 October 1912, Francis Gerald Woodhead moved with his parents to Middlesex in 1914. A right-hand fast-medium bowler and right-hand bat he played his early cricket with various club sides in the London area, including South Hampstead, and appeared in several representative school sides.

In 1933, he applied for a trial at Trent Bridge and joined the Nottinghamshire staff in 1934. He bowled well for Nottinghamshire 2nd XI in his first season, taking 15 wickets and made his First-Class debut for Notts v Worcestershire at Worksop in July 1934, coming into the side in place of Larwood.

Woodhead appeared in eight matches in 1935; by far his best was the Warwickshire game at Trent Bridge in which he had a remarkable spell of 5-0-11-4 and ended the innings with 6 for 28.

Woodhead appeared in 18 Nottinghamshire games in 1936 but, aside from a good bowling performance against Leicestershire, his most noteworthy feat was an innings of 52no versus Hampshire at Trent Bridge. He put on 75 with Butler for the 10th wicket and this innings proved to be the only fifty of his career.

In 1937 he played 11 matches and was awarded his county cap, but his bowling proved rather expensive. This was in complete contrast to 1938. On 4 July, Woodhead actually stood third in the bowling averages for the whole country with 31 wickets (average 16.35). Against Worcestershire at Trent Bridge he took 10 for 94 in the match. He ended the season top of the Nottinghamshire averages with 69 wickets (average 25.04).

He started the 1939 season playing in the first five matches, taking 5 for 1 in the fifth game, before being dropped. He returned to the team after two games because Voce was away injured but it was only a temporary reprieve and Woodhead had then to wait until Butler was injured in late July to get another chance, although for only one game. He was picked for the final two games of the year when he took another five wickets in an innings. During the year he played for Great Horton in the Bradford League and in 1943 took 39 wickets at an average of 16.02.

Woodhead returned to Nottinghamshire in 1946 and appeared as a regular member of the XI but missed several matches through injury. In the Autumn of 1946 he asked for his contract to be terminated and spent 1947 with Todmorden in the Lancashire League. The following summer, however, he returned to Trent Bridge but his wickets proved costly and he was unable to hold a regular place in the side. He took 53 wickets in 1949 at a much cheaper cost and played in 22 matches. 

Woodhead played against the all-conquering 1948 Australian side when they came to Nottingham and he cleaned bowled  Bradman, Miller and Hassett in one afternoon - though the Aussies still rattled up 400 in their only innings in a drawn match.

His final match for Nottinghamshire came in 1950 on 8 July versus Yorkshire at Trent Bridge and his engagement with the county ended at the close of that campaign.

In 1949/50 he was employed as a coach in South Africa, before coaching at Nottingham High School in 1951. He later returned to Trent Bridge as a coach for the Colts side and in 1970 was appointed County coach.

Frank Woodhead passed away on 24 May 1991 in Nottingham.

April 2020

Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 353

See Frank Woodhead's career stats here