What immediately struck the spectator when watching Ian Davison was his great enthusiasm and zest for cricket.

A burly man – 6’ 3’’ and 13 st – he possessed the sort of stamina that seemingly allowed him to bowl forever without fatigue.

He came from a sporting family – his father played soccer for Middlesbrough, Portsmouth and Watford, but originally for Blyth Spartans, hailing from the North East. His career however, had closed by the time Ian was born in Hemel Hempstead on 4 October 1937, and it was his South African born mother who was the great cricket follower. It was whilst playing for Luton and Berkhamsted School, that Ian Davison’s bowling skill was recognized by Bedfordshire and as a 17-year old he made his Minor Counties debut, taking 23 wickets at 19.17.

In 1957, National Service interrupted Davison’s cricket, but the following year he played for the Minor Counties Representative XI v the Test Tourists, New Zealand at Jesmond, before both Essex and Nottinghamshire invited him for trials.

Notts offered him a contract for 1959 and Davison found himself drafted straightaway into the County Championship side against Yorkshire at Middlesbrough, opening the bowling with John Cotton and taking 2 for 61.

Davison’s enthusiasm found him trying to bowl too fast with a resultant loss of line and length as well as numerous no-balls. It would be three seasons before he calmed down enough to bowl slower and learn to swing the ball either way.

But for injury he would have taken 100 wickets in 1961; two years later he captured 111 at 21.92; no Notts fast bowler had taken a hundred wickets in a season since Arthur Jepson in 1947.  His best match was at Old Trafford when he and Cotton dismissed Lancashire for 65 and 108, Davison ending with 6-30 and 5-23 in the match. In all he took 540 wickets for Nottinghamshire at an average of 28.81. As a batsman his highest innings was 60 not out versus Sussex at TB in 1962, made in 61 minutes with 10 fours, a knock in which he added 70 in 40 minutes in an eighth wicket partnership with Maurice Hill. In his 177 first-class matches for Notts he scored 1641 runs at 9.06.

Davison’s first-class career ended prematurely at the close of the 1966 season after declining a fresh contract. He began the season well as opening partner to Carlton Forbes, but beset in mid-season by injury he faded and eventually lost his place.

Signing for Milnrow in the Central Lancashire League saw him continue his wicket-taking antics, whilst he also returned to Bedfordshire, topping their bowling with 39 wickets at 14.25. He later played for Church in the Lancashire League.

When he joined Notts he moved to Ruddington, but in later years he lived across the River Erewash and ended his cricketing career finally with Ockbrook in 1992.

Ian Davison died at his home on 2 January 2017, aged 79, after being in poor health for some time.

December 2020

Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 416

See Ian Davison's career stats here