A useful all-round cricketer, Tom Atkinson joined the Trent Bridge staff in April 1956. He made his first-class debut the following summer on 25 May versus the West Indies, failing to take a wicket. Atkinson’s figures with the ball improved in each of his four seasons; he twice took five wickets in an innings, namely 5-91 v Somerset at Taunton in 1959 and a career best 6-61 (10-100 in the match) v Derbyshire at IIkeston in 1960. His best season was his last when he took 53 wickets @36.62. Overall, he played in 64 first-class games for Notts. His right-arm medium-fast bowling took 116 wickets @44.45 and he scored 1127 runs @13.25 for the county. A right-hand bat, his top score was 48 made against Hampshire at Bournemouth in 1958. Atkinson also appeared in 24 matches for Cumberland in the Minor Counties Championship between 1955 and 1964.
Although he was offered a new contract at the close of the 1960 season, he decided to take an appointment with the West of Scotland Club. He stayed for five years and then moved to Uddingston. After retiring from active cricket in 1975, he returned to the West of Scotland as ground superintendent, a post he held until his death, which occurred in Glasgow on 2 September 1990, following a heart attack. He was 59, having been born in Millom, Cumberland on 27 September 1930.