Report of Committee 1961

The season of 1961 was one of disappointment for the Club in so far as the team finished bottom of the County Championship Table once again. To supporters of the Club this was not a true reflection of the cricket which the team endeavoured to play. It may be said that had they not attempted to obtain a result they would not have lost so many games. They should not have lost to Glamorgan and Gloucestershire at Trent Bridge after having obtained the initiative, and the defeat by Lancashire at Worksop, may be attributed to the suspension of the ‘Follow-on’ rule. Two particularly good wins were those over Surrey and Warwickshire. However, in spite of not securing so many points as in 1960 much satisfaction can be obtained from the fact that their refreshing approach to the game provided a lot of pleasure all over the country. A County Match was played for the first time on the beautiful and well equipped ground of The Steetley Company, Shireoaks, and the Committee are most grateful to Mr. W. Stocks, through whose good offices this was made possible.

Appointed Captain for 1961, John Clay did an excellent job and proved popular with all those he met. Slow to find his true form which may have upset his confidence, he eventually played some fine knocks, including 106 against Worcester at Trent Bridge, and totalled 1497 runs for the season. The Committee on behalf of all members wish to express to him their warmest thanks for the very efficient manner in which he carried out the onerous duties of his office. Geoffrey Millman again kept wicket very efficiently having his best season behind the stumps since joining the Club, in addition to scoring his record number of runs. This form was deservedly recognised by the M.C.C. when he was invited to accompany their team on the tour of Pakistan, India and Ceylon. In this he appears to have kept wicket extremely well and we offer him our warmest congratulations on being selected to play for England against India and Pakistan. Norman Hill again had a wonderful season, scoring 2185 runs, which included six centuries and his personal highest score of 201 not out.

Undoubtedly the most pleasing feature of last season was the excellent form shown by Maurice Hill. For some years every follower of the game has expected him to produce the runs which all knew he was capable of making, but which he so often failed to do. Left out of the side for a brief period he returned and proceeded to play some magnificent knocks. He scored 1223 runs, including three not out centuries, but undoubtedly his innings of 90 not out against Gloucestershire at Trent Bridge out of a total of 148 will be long remembered by those who were privileged to see it. Cyril Poole, the veteran of the team was again in good form and unlucky not to score more hundreds than the one did against Surrey. His total of 1860 runs represented his best aggregate in a season, while his fielding was of that high standard which we have always associated with him. Reg Simpson, making a limited number of appearances, showed that had not lost any of his old skill and made a very fine 100 not out against Surrey. Mervyn Winfield and Carlton Forbes both scored over 1,000 runs in one season. Forbes can look back with much satisfaction on his first season in First Class Cricket as in addition to his steady performance with the bat, his bowling improved throughout the season. He gives the impression of being able to listen to advice and could become a very useful all-round player. Ian Davison showed much improvement, although still erratic with the new ball. He does, however, try hard to overcome his deficiencies and until injury forced him to drop out of the side, looked like taking his 100 wickets. Brian Wells bowled steadily but did not meet with quite the same amount of success as in 1960. His batting efforts were always brief and amusing. Undoubtedly, the big disappointment of the season was the break-down of John Cotton. Always highly thought of, it was both a bitter disappointment to the Club and others that he was not available for more than 11 games. His absence threw a heavy burden on the other bowlers, and while Pat Oakden tried hard on the occasions he was selected, there is not doubt that with Cotton in the side, the attack would have been stronger. It was fortunate that Andrew Corran, who has been appointed Captain for 1962, was able to play. He showed that in a full season he will be an acquisition and we wish him well in his new appointment. The Committee have felt that some members of the playing staff were not as fit as they might be and arrangements have been made for all to have a course of pre-season training under the supervision of Messrs J. Mallet and F. Knight, of the Nottingham Forest Football Club Staff.

The 2nd XI showed improvement in their games, although matches against Derbyshire and Worcester were badly lost. These performances were slightly balanced by a very fine win at Wollaton over Yorkshire. The team was led by Peter Forman who carried out this difficult position with enthusiasm. It was unfortunate that Alan Gill and Ian Moore were both troubled with injury and illness which prevented them from playing regularly. It was decided not to renew the contracts of M. Morgan, M. Haynes, J Walters, D. McCall and R. Ager. The Committee are very much aware of the weakness in the playing staff and are constantly searching for suitable players who may be recruited to the staff. It has been decided to enter a team, to be known as the Notts Colts XI, in the 2nd Division for the Notts. Amateur League. This will be composed of Junior members of the Groundstaff and other players who are recommended to the Club.

The Committee are greatly perturbed at the falling off in the Membership of the Club, which has been gradually decreasing over the last four years. It is essential that this trend should be halted and the Committee make a personal appeal to all to recruit at least one new member. There must be many in Nottingham and the County who would join if asked. Attention is drawn to the Committee’s proposal, in the Rules to be submitted to the Annual Meeting, to re-introduce the ‘Family’ type of Membership, which they feel will have a popular demand, especially now ladies may join their husbands in certain parts of the Pavilion during County Matches. In addition a new grade known as a ‘Patron’s’ Ticket, will be introduced. Receipts from membership fees should be the most stable item whereas in Nottingham it is one of the most unreliable. The cost of maintaining Trent Bridge as a Test Match Ground is a heavy drain on the Club’s limited resources and if it is to be retained on the rota of Test Match venues, then it is absolutely necessary that numerous improvements be made from time to time to the existing facilities, in order to keep it in line with the other Test Match venues. The Notts. County Cricket Supporters’ Association continue to give most valuable support to the Club. Reference to the Club’s Accounts for the past 10 years makes one realise that without this assistance Trent Bridge would not now be available as a First Class Cricket ground.

In the early part of 1961 the M.C.C. appointed, at the request of the First Class Counties, a Cricket Enquiry Committee whose object was to enquire into the structure of the game and the finances and make recommendations as they thought fit. The result to date is that in 1963 all Counties will each play 28, matches and that a national Knock-Out Competition will be introduced. This latter has been suggested on many previous occasions but Counties have not felt sure that it was possible to operate.

It is with much regret that the death of Sir Philip Barber is recorded. He was a former President of the Club, having been appointed to that office in 1939 and very generously consented to carry on until the end of 1945. He had been throughout his life a keen and generous supporter of the Club and was regular visitor to Trent Bridge where he will be much missed.

During the year Mr. W.A. Sime, Q.C., informed the Committee that due to his other commitments he felt that he could not continue to serve as a Committee member, a position he had occupied since 1951. His resignation was accepted and the Committee wish to record their warmest thanks to Mr. Sime for the excellent services he has rendered the Club as a member of the Committee. Two other members of the Committee, Messrs. L.H. Willson and E.R. Walker, have decided not to offer themselves for re-election and we tender to them our warm appreciation for the many constructive contributions which they have made to the Club’s welfare during the period they have served on the Committee. Mr. H.T.Milnes was co-opted to the Committee in place of Mr. Sime and offers himself for re-election.

The Fourth Test Match, England v Pakistan will be played at Trent Bridge on 26th – 31st July.

During the past year steps were taken to form an Old Players’ Association which it was it was felt would help to retain the interest of former members of the Playing Staff in the affairs of the Club. The initial membership is 37 and at an inaugural meeting the following Officers were appointed: - President Mr. John Gunn, Chairman – Mr Walter Keeton, Committee – Messers. H.J. Butler, A Staples, W. Voce, and A. Wheat and Hon. Secretary – Mr F.G. Woodhead.

Receipts from the County Matches showed a welcome improvement and it is interesting to note that we were one of the few Counties showing such an increase.

The Committee have, for an experimental period of one season, let the ground for use by the South Nottingham Hockey Club. Should this prove to be a satisfactory letting then consideration may be given to extending the use of the playing area during the winter months. It is this problem of the ground and buildings and how they can be best used as a profitable source of revenue, which has occupied the Committee’s attention. There is no doubt that it will have to be put to other uses apart from Cricket, and the Committee are making a preliminary examination of this important matter.

We are most grateful to Mr. G.H Spencer, President of the Club, for the interest he took in the Club’s affairs. A regularly attendee at matches, he proved himself to be extremely popular with the Players, Staff and Members, and we are glad to report that he has accepted the Committee’s invitation to be nominated as President for 1962.

R.J. de C Barber, Chairman