Mark Saxelby died in tragic circumstances at the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham on 12 October 2000, aged 31.
An all-round sportsman, he played rugger as well as cricket, but it was in the latter sport that he made his name. As a schoolboy he was considered more for his seam bowling than his batting – he took five for 26 for Notts Under 16s v Northumbria at Uppingham in 1985.
The following season he was so successful as an opening bowler for Notts Under 19s, that he won a place in the North v South game at Cambridge.
In 1987 he made his debut for the County in the Second Eleven Competition and in 1989 joined the Notts playing staff. He proved the best all-rounder in the Notts second team that summer, with 692 runs and 22 wickets. His First-Class debut came on 17 June 1989 v Cambridge University at Fenner’s – his brother Kevin played in the same match.
In 1990 he made eight First-Class appearances, as well as playing regularly in the Sunday League side. However, a shoulder injury severely restricted his bowling.
Having spent the 1990/91 winter playing in Geelong, Australia, he continued in 1991 as an integral member of the Sunday League side, which captured the title for the first time that summer. Unable to do much bowling in 1992, he lost his first team place, but batted with outstanding success for the Seconds, scoring 848 runs, average 70.66. Using his considerable power he built up a reputation as an attacking batsman, and was very strong on the leg side.
Still unable to regain a regular first team place in 1993, he left his native County and elected to play for Durham for 1994. With his new County he completed 1,000 First-Class runs for the first time, including two hundreds, one of which was made on his Durham Championship debut. Continuing shoulder and back problems meant that his bowling was a thing of the past.
In 1995 he topped the batting averages for Durham’s tour of South Africa bu, after playing in the Durham Championship side throughout May, he missed the rest of the season and was then released
In 1996 he returned to Nottinghamshire and played for Thoresby Colliery as well as for Cheshire in the Minor Counties, with which side he won the Minor Counties Trophy. In 1999 he joined Heanor in the Derbyshire League and his batting was so outstanding that he was drafted into the Derbyshire Championship side for one game, in addition playing for the Notts Board XI.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 511