The Saxelby family of Nottinghamshire has produced several cricketers; in addition to Kevin and his brother Mark, who made his debut in a match alongside Kevin, a cousin, David played for Notts Second XI and a nephew, Ian, represented Gloucestershire in First-Class and List-A cricket. Ian also played three matches for England Under-19s.
Kevin, born in Worskop on 23 February 1959, was a right-arm fast bowler who took more than 500 wickets for the county over the dozen seasons that he played for Notts. At times genuinely quick, he did sacrifice accuracy for speed but when he got it right, he was a very effective new ball bowler. As a consequence, it took him some time to get established in the First-Class game.
He played his first match for the first XI in 1978, making just two appearances that season; he did not play first team cricket in 1979 and in the next two seasons played just another half-a-dozen matches. In 1982, he became a more regular player, making 14 appearances in the County Championship and 18 in limited-overs competitions. From that point until 1990 he was always in the squad.
He found a role as a late-innings one-day bowler and in 1989 set a record by taking five wickets in four successive Sunday League innings.
Notts supporters liked Kevin Saxelby because he was a journeyman in a team of stars – the 1980s was a successful time for the club – and because he took time to talk to members.
After his First-Class career at Trent Bridge ended, he did play twice for Notts Seconds, against Durham in 1991 and versus Lincolnshire the following year.
His batting was typical of tail-enders of that era – he finished with 1,112 First-Class runs at 11.70 with a top score of 59no; he took exactly 300 wickets at 32.35 with a best of 6-49 against Sussex, he had six ‘five-fers’ and once, v Kent, took ten wickets in a match. In List-A cricket, he scored 249 runs at 12.45 and a best of 23no; he took 224 wickets at 25.90 and a best of 6-30 – he had six five-wicket hauls and a further five times took four wickets in an innings.