A short, stocky individual described as being ‘built like a barrel’, Norman Hill didn’t really fit the bill as to how a first-class cricketer should look. However, in a time where Nottinghamshire were struggling to challenge, Hill represented an ever-present rock of determination, with fine performances and a complete devotion to the club.
Born on 22 August 1935, Hill’s career with Nottinghamshire stretched fifteen years, including two seasons as captain. Well-known for his ability as a ferocious left-hand opening batsman, he was also a more than capable fielder.
Norman Hill made his First-Class debut in 1953 at the age of just 17, making him the fifth youngest player to appear for the county in the Twentieth century. Despite this promising start, it wasn’t until 1958 that Hill cemented a permanent place in the side – but once his place was secured, he more than proved his worth. His 153 against Kent was the county’s highest innings of the 1958 season, and 1,000 runs for the year represented a good return for the patience and faith shown in him.
Injury to his hand blighted his impressive form in 1960, as he missed thirteen games. Nevertheless, Hill still managed over 2,000 runs in the 1959 and 1961 seasons, one of only nine Notts batsmen to reach this landmark in their careers. The 1961 season proved his most successful year and included a career-best unbeaten 201 against Sussex.
Hill retired at the end of the 1962 season but couldn’t stay away long. He returned mid-way through the following season, before being appointed captain in 1966. He would captain the county for just two years before handing over to Garry Sobers and calling time on his career for a second time. Retiring at the age of 32 to pursue his business career, Hill could have certainly performed at the top-level for another few years and added to his already impressive career statistics.
Norman Hill passed away in May 2023, at the age of 87.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 400