In the annals of Nottinghamshire cricket Ken Smales’ name will always be associated with his unique bowling feat, when he took all ten wickets (for 66) in an innings against Gloucestershire on 9 June 1956. This achievement occurred on the Erinoid Ground at Stroud, during the first Championship game ever staged at that venue.
Smales sent down 41.3 overs (including 20 maidens) while his fellow bowlers - Arthur Jepson and the Australians Alan Walker and Bruce Dooland - bowled 62 wicketless overs. And despite Smales' heroics, Notts lost the match inside two days by nine wickets.
Born in Horsforth near Leeds on 15 September 1927, Smales was educated at Aireborough Grammar School - the same institution that was attended by Yorkshire greats Hedley Verity and Brian Close. Ken made his debut for Yorkshire 2nds in 1947 as an off-break bowler and very useful right hand batsman. So successful was he in the Minor Counties matches of 1947 that he made his first-class debut for Yorkshire on 12 May 1948 v Northants at Huddersfield.
Almost at once it seemed as if he had secured a permanent place in the formidable Yorkshire side of that era. It was noted at the season’s close that ‘He looks a cricketer to the last inch and his appearances in the Yorkshire First Team have been well deserved.’
For some reason he was not selected for Yorkshire in any games in 1949, despite good all-round performances for the Seconds and an impressive record in club cricket for Bradford. In 1950 he did play in three games for Yorkshire - taking ten wickets for 220 runs - but it was clear that he couldn’t command a regular place in the First Eleven and left Yorkshire to be specially registered for Notts for 1951.
He was to command a permanent place in the Notts side from 1951 until his retirement at the end of 1958. Smales' best season with the ball was 1955 when he took 117 wickets at a cost of 2823 runs. He never quite achieved his potential with the bat, his highest innings of 64 coming in 1958 and his highest run total being 458 in 1951. Apart from bowling off-spin, he also bowled medium pace seamers and usually fielded in the covers.
Up to the present time Smales remains the only bowler to take ‘all ten’ in a Championship match for Nottinghamshire, and he ended his Notts career with 20 five-wicket hauls and one hat-trick. For several years after leaving county cricket Ken played local cricket for Bulwell, and he was an accomplished golfer with a handicap of four.
At the close of 1958 he was offered the post of Assistant Secretary to Nottingham Forest Football Club; promoted to Secretary in 1961, he remained at the City Ground until retirement in 1988. He is the author of the most detailed book on the history of Nottingham Forest FC: 'Forest - The First 125 Years'.
He was a very keen supporter of rugby league and in 1989 was appointed a Director of Nottingham City Rugby League Club, based at the Harvey Hadden Stadium until their demise in 1993. In retirement Ken moved to Cornwall, and he died on 10 March 2015 at the age of 87.