This was the most unsuccessful season since 1895, when the club was bracketed last but one in the championship table. Only three matches were won and only two counties were below us. The lack of bowling is not sufficient excuse to account for this state of affairs, but the bowling certainly needs strengthening. We have enough; however, to enable the team to occupy a far higher position provided it is backed up by resolute fielding and a capacity to hold catches. The batting strength was again evident, but at times uncertain. R. T. Simpson scored over 2,000 runs and had a very fine season; out best wishes are with him in Australia. J. Hardstaff again had a successful season. The evergreen Charlie Harris and Winrow did well. Walter Keeton, owing to ill-health, failed to attain the great success of late years. Of the younger batsmen Martin showed promise, but Poole from who so much was expected went back. A satisfactory feature was the fine form shown by Harold Butler. Although now in the veteran stage he is by general consensus of opinion the best bowler with the new ball in the country. He took 95 wickets with an average of 22.53. Of the rest of the bowling there is little that can be said, but we feel that Harvey is capable of doing much better and Stocks will also improve. Meads again kept wicket with consistent skill.
W. A. Sime captained the side with an enthusiasm and ability which deserved success. He has been unfortunate in assuming the responsibility of captaincy in a lean period of our history. One cannot win matches without bowlers, but he employed our resources to the best advantage. Better fielding would have resulted in more wins and in that respect Mr. Sime set a fine example. R. T. Simpson and C. J. Poole were also brilliant. Mr. Sime now feels that owing to the demand of his profession he must relinquish the captaincy. He undertook the task at the request of the Committee at a difficult time. He has occupied the position for four years at considerable personal sacrifice and the Committee wish to place on record their thanks for the services which he has rendered to the club.
R. T. Simpson has been invited to captain the XI during the coming season.
The Committee have explored the possibilities of strengthening the team from outside the county. With the friendly assistance of Yorkshire they have engaged K. Smales, a useful all-round cricketer. This is subject to the M.C.C. granting a special registration. The Committee do not favour the policy of seeking cricketers outside our county on a large scale. They regard this engagement as a temporary expedient to assist us in our present difficulty.
We sadly record the deaths during the year of S. J. Staples, one of the best spin bowlers if his time; we could do with his like today. Also of Ben Lilley who was a fine wicket-keeper and a useful bat and frequently captained the side in the absence of the regular captain. He was man of sterling character and his influence was always for good.
The first Test Match against South Africa takes place at Trent Bridged on 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12 June.
The 2nd XI again played in the Minor Counties Championship and was captained by Bill Voce, the club coach. They played ten matches of which one was won, two lost, five drawn and two abandoned. A notable achievement was the defeat of Lancashire 2nd XI at Trent Bridge. Oscroft, Stinchcombe, Kelly and Rowe are young players of distinct possibilities and should develop under the guidance of their coach. Rowe who kept wicket against West Indies conceded only one bye out of an innings of 500 runs. A. K. Armitage, H. R. Cox, J. Bates, B. Notley, G. Richardson, J. H. Newsome, J. S. Hodgkins and D. Hammond all appeared for the 2nd XI on occasions and the Committee wish to thank them for their services.
Courses for coaches are being continued at Trent Bridge. Increasing numbers of young cricketers have received coaching and inter county junior matches were played last year against Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire and will be continued in the coming season. Our scheme of coaching has received special recognition in the M.C.C. Cricket Enquiry Report.
As you will see from the Balance Sheet we finished the year with a credit balance of £182 8s. 5. This, in view of the fact that we received £4,423 as our share of the Test Match gates and £602 entrance fees (last year nil), also £732 B.B.C. Fees against £5 5s. last year, may seem disappointing. But we have had to spend no less than £7,567 in repairs and improvements to the ground, all of which were absolutely necessary. This large sum is due to an accumulation of repairs during the war. There is also a sad falling of £1,100 in county match receipts. We have had to transfer £4,400 from our reserve, leaving us with £500 in had for repairs. There is still a certain amount of work to be done at Trent Bridge but the expense will be substantially less than last years. Owing to the fact that we have a Test Match at Trent Bridge this year we may hope that subscriptions will keep up to the level of last year and we must also hope for an improvement in our match receipts.
Harold Butler’s benefit realised £2,670 11s. 11d. net which is most disappointing, the only bright spot being the Sunday match receipts. In connection with this we should like to mention in particular the generous work done by Mr. Hedley C. Wright. At Sutton-in-Ashfield £250 18s. 9d. was realised largely to his efforts. We should like to express our thanks to those other local clubs who have so generously support the Benefit by arranging matches.
The Committee has been urged to forbid the county players to take part in Sunday benefit matches. As such a consider part of the benefit money is a result of local matches the Committee do not feel that they can adopt this course. Local matches are played in a light hearted spirit and do not involve much strain. In order to reduce this to a minimum not more than six of the first team at a time are permitted to take part.
Arthur Jepson takes his benefit in 1951 and it is hoped that the public will recognise the fine work which this great hearted cricketer has accomplished.