John Denis Springall, a Londoner who had been on the MCC staff, moved to Trent Bridge at the start of the 1955 season and remained with the Club until the end of 1963. A sound opening or middle-order right-handed batsman, he also bowled useful medium pace and was known to keep wicket occasionally.
Springall played just once in 1955, keeping wicket in the penultimate match of the season against Northamptonshire at Trent Bridge. Further opportunities followed in the following two seasons, with Springall contributing five fifties in 25 matches. In 1959 and 1960, he was a fixture in the Notts side. He scored 1,000 runs in both seasons, with 1,488 in 1959 being his best return. He also recorded the two centuries of his career, his best of 107no coming against Leicestershire at Coalville in June 1959.
He was frequently used as a bowler during these two seasons, contributing 74 wickets across 1959 and 1960, including his best return of 6-43 against Surrey at The Oval. In 1960 he was awarded his County Cap.
Springall played less frequently from 1961 until his release in 1963. In all, he played in 119 First-Class matches for Nottinghamshire, scoring 5,097 runs at an average of 25.74. With the ball he finished with 80 wickets at an average of just over 41. From 1964 to 1967, he played for Walsden in the Central Lancashire League.
John Springall played most of his career before the advent of one-day cricket but returned for one outing in a Gillette Cup tie against Northamptonshire in May 1967. He scored 6 with the bat and bowled six wicketless overs to finally bring down the curtain on his senior cricket career. At that time, he was on the Notts CCC committee, having been elected the preceding year, and served until 1971.
Springall was the second cousin of the comedian Charlie Drake who, in the 1950s and 1960s, starred in a number of popular television programmes - most notably The Worker - and had several novelty hits, of which My Boomerang Won't Come Back is the best known.
For a number of years, John Springall lived in Spain but returned to the UK and lived in Norfolk to be near his son. He died in that county on 26 June 2020, aged 87 years; a popular and versatile player who will be much missed by his family, his friends and by the supporters of Nottinghamshire CCC.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 407