The 1958 season was one of the worst in the club’s long history, as - apart from the weather which interfered with many games - the cricket played by the County XI was not of the quality which we associate with the club and in consequence the side finished at the bottom of the County Championship table, a position last occupied in 1951. Only John Cotton, Norman Hill and Geoffrey Millman of the young players improved as much as was expected. Mr. R T Simpson captained the side and seemed to have recovered from the back injury which kept him out of so many games the previous season. Along with C J Poole, N Hill and M Hill, he scored over 1,000 runs in a season which was not entirely favourable to batsman.
Of the bowlers, Arthur Jepson and Ken Smales were the most successful. At 43 years of age, Jepson took more wickets than anyone else, one of the best performance of his career being 8 for 45 against Leicestershire at Trent Bridge. Undoubtedly the biggest disappointment of the season was Gamini Goonesena. Only on occasions did he give us glimpses of his true form either with bat or ball. Springall, Hall, Winfield and Taylor were all given opportunities in the senior side, but none were successful in gaining a permanent place.
The 2nd XI again competed in the Minor Counties Championship, winning three of their matches and losing one. Unfortunately, the side lacked a regular captain, this office being shared by Clay, Giles and Harvey on different occasions.
Frank Shipston, a former County player, has been appointed Coach and we feel sure that this important position could not have been given to a more competent man.
Your Committee have appointed a small Sub-Committee, whose work is to search for players who will strengthen the resources of the club. Already they have engaged Ian Davison of Bedfordshire, who has had a very good record in Minor Counties cricket. The loss of Ken Smales, Peter Harvey, Alan Walker, and the uncertain future of Gamini Goonesena, is a blow from which it will not be easy to recover.
The Committee record with deep regret the death of Mr J K Lane, a valued member of the club, a most popular past captain of the 2nd XI and member of the Committee for many years, and, at the time of his death, President of the club. Mr Lane was one of the outstanding cricket personalities of the County, both in his home town at Southwell and Trent Bridge where he made so many friends. Cricket will be the poorer for his passing.
In July that great player of the past, George Gunn, passed away suddenly. To quote Neville Cardus, ‘he was the most original of great batsmen, a law unto himself. The modern way of estimating a cricketer’s talents by statistics, records and averages, tells only half of the truth about him. He was the best of all batsmen against fast bowling. He celebrated his 50th birthday in 1929 by scoring 164 not out and told me weeks in advance of the date how he would celebrate it. Whether scoring or not, he was a delight to watch, never awkward, never at the bowler’s orders. His strokes seemed to be made by a bat through which, from handle to blade, some current of his personality travelled. We shall not in a hurry look on his like again’.
The club recently suffered a further loss through the passing of Mr C A Hingston, a Vice-President, who had supported the club over a long period and was for many years on the Committee.
The Committee have decided to take a first class match to Worksop. They feel that there is a demand for cricket in these parts of the County and that it will meet with the approval of members, especially those who live in that area.
The first Test Match versus India will be played at Trent Bridge in June, while the Third Test versus South Africa in 1960, has been provisionally allocated to us.
Your Committee note with regret the decline in membership of the club. This has in some way been responsible for the heavy loss sustained this year. They hope that members will continue to give their support, not only in years when there is a Test Match, but also at other times. The heavy expense of maintaining Trent Bridge suitable for Test Cricket is always present, and without the support of members and the Notts Cricket Supporters’ Association, who have again been most generous in their financial assistance, it would be impossible to do so. A surplus of Income over Expenditure was only possible by the continued assistance of the Supporters’ Association. The Committee are pleased to record their most sincere thanks for the sustained efforts of the Officers and Members of this organisation that have prevented a most serious financial situation.
On 31st December Mr H A Brown retired as Secretary of the club, a position he has occupied so well since 1921. During that time, many changes have taken place for the benefit of the club and members, due in no small way to the charming manner in which he has discharged the duties of his office, which your Committee have recognised by electing him a Honorary Life Member of the club. On your behalf, we wish him well in his retirement, good health and a warm welcome to Trent Bridge whenever he cares to come.
As most of you know he has been succeeded in office by Mr Ronald Poulton who has been Assistant Secretary for 11 years. Your Committee feel sure that members will give to Mr. Poulton the same support and help which in the past they gave to Mr Brown.
Owing to ill-health, Mr H C Wright, a member of the Committee for many years, has been unable to attend meetings on the ground during the past year. Throughout the time he has been on the Committee, Mr. Wright has shewn a keen interest in the affairs of the club and local cricket, and we express to him our deepest sympathy in the illness which has prevented him from being with us.
Your Committee wish to record their thanks to Exors. of the late Mr C L Chettle, for the legacy of £100, which was bequeathed to the club. Mr Chettle had been a member since a young boy up till the time of his death and always took a keen interest in its affairs.
A Benefit has been granted to Ron Giles in 1959 as a reward for long and faithful service. He has been on the Staff of the club since 1932 and although never a regular member of the County XI, has on occasions made some useful scores.
On behalf of the Committee,
R.J. de C. Barber, Chairman
TEST V NEW ZEALAND, IT20 V INDIA