Richard Bates, from Stamford, joined the Trent bridge staff in 1991, when the principal off spinner was Eddie Hemmings; as a consequence, though he played in four-day cricket in 1996, for three seasons, 1996, 1997 and 1998, his appearances were most often as a regular member of the Sunday League side, his best record being in 1996 when he took 17 wickets at 26.58 runs each.
Bates was a junior at Bourne CC and a made his debut in county cricket for Lincolnshire in a Minor Counties game against Bedfordshire in 1990. His debut in List A cricket also came with Lincolnshire in the same year, in a NatWest Trophy match v Gloucestershire.

In 1993, he made his first-class debut for Notts against Oxford University and until he left the club in 2002, he represented the county in 33 first-class matches. In those matches, he scored 450 runs with a high score of 34 and took 18 catches. With the ball he took 50 wickets, with best figures of 5-88.

Bates played in more than twice as many List A matches, 69, the last of which came against Somerset. During his List A playing span with Nottinghamshire, he scored 234 runs at an average of 8.66, with a high score of 28 not out, while in the field he took 29 catches. With the ball he took 63 wickets at a bowling average of 34.07, with best figures of 3-21

In 2002, he represented the Nottinghamshire Cricket Board in a single List A match against Cumberland in the 2003 Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy, the first round of which was played, curiously, in 2002 though the tournament was completed the following year.

After retiring from playing, Richard Bates was appointed coach of the England women's cricket team in 2003, a position he held for 4 years, the highlight of which was re-capturing the Women's Ashes in 2005. He quit the job in April 2007 and subsequently moved with his family to Australia.