Some good batting performances in local cricket in 1949 led to right-hander Mervyn Winfield being taken on the Trent Bridge playing staff in 1950 at the age of 17. Though not qualified that year for Notts Second XI in the Minor Counties Championship, he played some impressive innings for Club & Ground. Called up for National Service in the autumn of 1951, he had time to hit his first Minor Counties hundred against Warwickshire Seconds at RHP Newark in July of that year. Stationed for much of his army service at RAOC, Chilwell, he was able to play a limited number of games for Notts Seconds in 1952 and 1953, before resuming his full time professional career in 1954, when a century in the opening Minor Counties fixture led to him making four first-team appearances for Notts that season.
Although he recorded his maiden First-Class hundred in 1956, it was not until 1959 that he gained a permanent place in the county first eleven. He secured this due to an innings of 98 in the Whitsuntide game with Surrey. He helped Reg Simpson add 177 for the second wicket, actually outscoring the great batsman in the process. It should be added that Surrey fielded their famous quartet of England bowlers – Lock, Laker, Bedser and Loader – for this game.
In all, Winfield compiled 1,552 runs that season and was to go on to score more than 1,000 runs in each of the three following summers. Surprisingly he was not awarded his county cap until 1962, 12 years after he first joined Notts. Aside from his batting, an equally important asset of his cricket was his fielding at gully, where he was regarded as the best on the county circuit.
The signing of Bolus from Yorkshire in 1963, added to the emergence of several young batsmen, notably Whittingham and Moore, and, a year or two later, Smedley, gradually squeezed Winfield out of the first XI. In his final two summers at Trent Bridge, 1965 and 1966 he was mainly in the Seconds, often captaining the side. Leaving Notts at the end of the latter season, he was signed on as Shropshire’s first ever full-time professional, topping their batting table in his initial summer.
He remained with the Border County for three years, and then moved back to his native Lincolnshire for two final years of Minor Counties cricket. Afterwards Winfield took various coaching engagements. As a youth he had been a talented table tennis player, winning local competitions.
A cheerful cricketer given to spontaneous witty one-liners and forever talkative, he was also known to burst into snatches of popular songs. Born in Gainsborough on 13 June 1933 and educated at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, he moved to West Bridgford in 1957, but latterly resided in Bulwell and died after a long illness on 18 October 2014.
In 172 matches for Notts he scored 6,799 runs, average 23.04 and took 133 catches.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 402