For more than half a century the Hall family dominated Retford cricket with enthusiasm and devotion. In 1949, Retford won the Bassetlaw League for the first time guided by Mike’s father John – the title had been almost without exception won by Colliery sides from the League’s inception in 1904. John played five first-class games for the Notts first team from 1935 to 1946 but his principal cricket at that time had been for Sir Julien Cahn’s Team.
Michael ‘Mike’ John Hall was born in Worksop on May 29th, 1935 and came with his parents to Retford, where he attended King Edward VI’s Grammar School and was in the school 1st XI from 1949 to 1952, making his Notts 2nd XI debut in his final year.
Unlike his father, an accurate medium-fast bowler, Mike was a specialist batsman and talented close fielder. In 1953 he joined the Notts playing staff, remaining at Trent Bridge for seven seasons. He was seen mostly in the Minor Counties Competition with Notts Seconds appearing in 63 matches and hitting 1,675 runs. In 1958 he obtained a place as a middle order bat in the 1st XI, appearing in 17 first-class matches; his top score was 72 v Cambridge University at Trent Bridge in 1959. At the end of the 1959 season he left the staff and devoted himself to Retford and Bassetlaw cricket, though he continued to play for the County 2nd XI as and when required until 1979.
Hall represented the Bassetlaw League in the League Cricket Conference Trophy on 35 occasions between 1968 and 1979. Retford won the Bassetlaw League in 1968, 1969, 1976, 1977 and 1978. Just as important however was the number of young cricketers who came to the fore primarily through Mike Hall’s help and guidance. The best known is Derek Randall, but Geoff Key and Alan Bull were both engaged on the Notts playing staff, whilst John Cook, a career policeman from Retford, played for the town and appeared in two first class and 10 List A matches for the Notts 1st XI in the 1974 and 1975 seasons. Both Nigel and Chris, the sons of Mike Hall, had major parts in the Retford cricket club.
Michael John Hall died following a major heart attack in Retford on 10 August 2019