Mick Newell was born in Blackburn, Lancashire on 25 February 1965, but moved to West Bridgford, Nottingham around 1969 when his father was appointed Deputy Director of Nottinghamshire County Council Social Services Department. He was educated at West Bridgford Comprehensive School and played his early cricket at Unity Casuals Cricket Club. He did in fact return to play a few matches for Unity Casuals CC after his professional retirement and played one match for Ellerslie CC Fourth XI, when his son Adam was in the same team.
Mick first featured in the Nottinghamshire CCC Second XI averages in 1981 and then in 1984 he signed a professional contract with the Club. He was described as a right-hand batsman who occasionally bowled leg-breaks and could also keep wicket. People might doubt that last comment but statistics tell us that in September 1986, the Northamptonshire batsmen David Wild was dismissed ‘st Newell b Hemmings 13’ – the solitary stumping of his career. His leg-breaks were also very occasional although his first victim was Eldine Baptiste of Kent who Newell bowled for 24 runs. This was a match in June 1985 when Notts used 10 bowlers in one innings. Other Newell victims with the ball include Graeme Hick and John Morris, both England International cricketers.
He made his First-Class debut against Cambridge University on 30 June 1984 at Trent Bridge and scored 76 runs. His County Championship debut was against Lancashire at Blackpool in August 1984.
Although playing in several matches from 1984 onwards, it was not until 1987 that he really forced himself into the Notts First XI. During that season he was capped by the County and he achieved his highest first-class score – 203 not out against Derbyshire CCC at Derby. Their attack included Michael Holding, Devon Malcolm, Ole Mortensen and Martin Jean-Jacques – quite a formidable line-up. The Wisden Cricketers Almanack described the match in the following terms “At the age of 22, Newell became the youngest player in Nottinghamshire’s history to score a double century, taking that distinction away from Tim Robinson. Subsequently, that distinction was lost to Kevin Pietersen at 21yrs and 33 days, with Guy Welton next and Mick now third on the list.
Newell, whose only previous century was against Oxford University in 1986, displayed sound technique, exemplary concentration, and as his confidence increased, a developing range of strokes to bat for 464 minutes, face 402 balls and hit a six and twenty fours”. An early write-up on Newell had described him as a determined batsman, difficult to dismiss who scores runs more by carefully playing shots between fielders. His appearance in List-A matches were therefore somewhat reduced, only playing in 40 games against 102 first class appearances.
He was awarded a benefit in 1999. His best season as a player was in 1987, when he scored 1,054 First-Class runs at an average of 39.03.
In 1992 Newell was appointed Second Eleven captain and in the following year he became the manager as well, following the release of Kevin Saxelby. He remained in this position within the Notts management team until halfway through the 2002 season when the Notts First Team coach, Clive Rice, was dismissed; Newell took charge until the end of the season and then was appointed officially to the position. Again, Wisden quotes that “where Rice had been autocratic, Newell, a vastly different character, chose group discussion and democracy.”
Newell saw Notts win two County Championships in 2005 and 2010 plus one-day wins in 2013 and the double success of 2017 but he also oversaw relegation to Division Two in 2016 and 2019. The Second XI also won their Championship in 2004. In 2014 Newell was appointed a member of the England cricket selection committee, a role that he kept until 2018.
In June 2015, following what was described as a crisis meeting, the Notts CCC Committee appointed Peter Moores, the former England coach, in a consultancy role to assist Newell. In October of that year, Moores signed a two-year contract taking charge of first team affairs with Newell, in footballing terms, moving ‘upstairs’ as Director of Cricket with responsibility to focus on management, recruitment, and developing local players through closer relationships with schools and clubs. This move was not popular with some of the membership but Newell remains in that position today in 2020.
In those 102 First-Class games, Mick Newell scored 4,636 runs at 30.50 with six hundreds, of which one was that double against Derbyshire, and a further 24 scores of over fifty; he also took 93 catches to go with his one stumping. He took nine wickets at an average of 40.28. In List-A crickets, 40 matches brought him 37 innings with a top score of 109no and an aggregate of 962 runs at 30.06. In addition to his one century, made against Essex, he scored four Fifties and took 13 catches. His List-A bowling was restricted to just one over, than went for 10 runs in a NatWest Trophy game against Devon in 1988.
One interesting fact that is not commonly known is that Newell, as a youngster, once had a trial at Nottingham Forest FC…his father claimed that he, Barry, was thrown out the City Ground dressing room for smoking a pipe!
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 501