Tom Birtle, born in Norton, Stockton-on-Tees on 28 March 1926, was a right-hand batsman and a right-arm medium pace bowler who enjoyed considerable success in the North Yorkshire & South Durham League but could not translate that form to the upper echelons of cricket.
He played his first county cricket for Durham in 1946, making a couple of appearances in that season and in 1952, made his First-Class debut for Nottinghamshire v Kent at the Garrison Ground, Gillingham. In that match he took 1-50 from his 22 overs and made 4no batting at number 11; he fared little better in the other six first team games that he played that summer and left Trent Bridge at the end of that season. That not out score against Kent was his best batting – in fairness he was not picked for his batsmanship – but his bowling made little impact and he finished with eight wickets from the campaign at a costly 74.12. Birtle also played some Second XI cricket for Notts, improving his top score to 12 and taking 14 further wickets with 6-82 against Lancashire Seconds his best return.
He went back to Durham where he resumed his club cricket, though he did play one further Minor Counties game v Cumberland in 1955. Having re-joined Norton CC, Birtle played in the final of the 1964 Kerridge Cup (one of the oldest limited-overs knock-out competitions in the country), having also represented them in the 1946 final, which Norton also won – the only player to appear in both finals. In the 1946 final against Stockton he snapped up four wickets for 10 runs in eight impressive overs, all his victims being clean bowled. Apart from senior league cricket he also played for Wilton ICI in the Middlesbrough Midweek League.
Tom Birtle worked for ICI and Pickering Lifts in Stockton; though born in Norton, he lived most of his life in Billingham. He died on New Years Day 2010, aged 83 at Stockton-on-Tees; he is remembered by his home club in the Tom Birtle trophy, awarded each year to the person judged to have contributed the most to Norton CC in that year.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 395