‘This has been the summer of rejuvenation for Nottinghamshire cricket…the season when those annual pre-start promises have blossomed and materialised even more gloriously than the most ambitious could have expected… the season when at long last the county have once again gained respect and admiration from opponents and spectators alike. A look at the final County Championship table speaks for itself. From a feeble 15th last year Nottinghamshire have hoisted themselves into ninth position and have won six matches compared with four of last season.’
This preamble to the report is how Mr. Neville Foulger, of the Nottingham Guardian Journal reviewed the past season and the Committee feel that this admirably describes how the Club supporters themselves would have assessed the results, both on and off the field. There is no doubt that the Team showed more urgency in its approach to the game and played with much more confidence but we recognise that there is some way to go before earlier glories are fully recaptured. We tender to Geoffrey Millman, the members of the Playing Staff and Coach, our warmest congratulations on the part which they played in bringing this about.
Geoffrey Millman, in his first season at Captain, discharged the duties of this responsible position with great credit and we are glad he has accepted office for next season. At the beginning of the season it appeared to be ‘the mixture as before’ but by Whitsuntide results showed that a more than useful combination had been found. Brian Bolus, in a wonderful season, was an inspiration to the remainder of the team and no doubt passed on much of the experience which he had gained with Yorkshire. Your Committee offer him their congratulations on his having been selected to play in two Test Matches against West Indies and in the current tour of India with the MCC. It pleased everyone when Norman Hill decided to renew his association with the Club and he fully justified our confidence in him. The performances of two young players, Barry Whittingham and Ian Moore, were most encouraging and augur well for the future. Both scored over 1,000 runs in what was their first full season. Maurice Hill, an enigma for several seasons, played some majestic innings during the season and was more mature and reliable. His innings at Edgbaston will long be remembered by all who saw it, and his fielding at cover was, as always, comparable to the best in the game.
It is most gratifying to record the fact that, after a period of many years, a seam bowler has taken 100 wickets for Notts. We refer, of course, to Ian Davison, a great-hearted bowler and the Committee congratulate him on his outstanding performance. He was well supported by Brian Wells, who came back into his own, and Keith Gillhouley, who made a favourable impression on his first season with the Club. The popular Carlton Forbes was probably unfortunate to finish with only 57 wickets as on numerous occasions he bowled well. He again showed himself to be a useful batsman and could still develop into the all-rounder which the team needs. John Cotton, still prone to injury, was disappointing and it seems that unless he develops more stamina, the rosy future that seemed was his a few years ago, appears to be eluding him. Andrew Corran was bowling better than ever, before he injured his right elbow which prevented him from playing regularly. When he came back towards the end of the season, he proved himself to be very fit – especially with the bat!
Your Committee decided not to renew the contracts of John Springall and Robin Bilbie. Both have given loyal service to the Club over a period of years and they leave in friendly association with the Club and with everybody’s good wishes and the Club’s thanks.
Since the end of the season the Club have engaged the services of David Baker, a leg-spin bowler, who has been with Kent and who made a favourable impression at Trent Bridge in 1962. Qualified under a Special Registration, he will be available for selection this coming season.
The 2nd XI were well led by John Clay and although they did not win more than two games in the 2nd XI Competition, they gave a very good account of themselves against most sides. Of the young players, Michael Smedley and Michael Taylor, both gave evidence that they can be useful acquisitions to the staff. In order to provide more cricket for the young players, the Club decided to re-enter the Minor Counties Competition in 1964.
The Committee congratulate the Colts XI on winning the 2nd Division Championship of the Notts. Amateur League and particularly Frank Woodhead for the very able manner in which he Captained the side. Some members of the Colts XI played in 2nd XI games and did very well. This team may well provide the future members of the County Eleven and in order to give them more experience application has been made to enter a team in the Bassetlaw League in 1965. We shall still retain a side in the Notts. Amateur League.
In addition to the success on the field, your Committee are pleased to report that the Membership Campaign, which was launched at the commencement of the year, was most successful and resulted in over 1,860 new members being enrolled, although this gain was somewhat offset by resignations and some defaulters. However, the Accounts reveal that the Campaign was profitable overall and the Committee wish to thank particularly the following gentlemen who contributed so much towards this very satisfactory result. They are- Mr. E.D. Spencer (Retford), Col. A.A. Warburton (Worksop), Mr. A.T.W. Taylor (Mansfield), Mr. C.M. Dennis (Southwell), Mr. D.P. Blatherwick and Mr. G.D. Watkinson (Newark), Sir William Barber (Hucknall), Mr. G.T.D. Tomlinson (Nottingham), Mr. K. H. Brealey (Beeston), Revd. A. Doxey (West Bridgford) and Major I.A.G. Davy (Radcliffe). In addition we express our warmest thanks to Major-General Sir Robert Laycock who acted as Patron and convened the opening meeting of the Campaign and to Mr. J. H. Elliot who undertook the responsible and exacting position of Chairman.
Apart from the number of new members enrolled, considerable enthusiasm and interest in the Club was created throughout the county and we are certain that 1964 will see a further increase in Club membership, indeed already about 400 new members have been enrolled since the end of the 1963 season. The visit of the Australians always tends to bring this about and therefore we appeal to all those who join this year to retain their membership and not allow it to be a temporary nature. The upkeep and maintenance of Trent Bridge as a Test Match centre depends to a great extend on the support which the Club receives from people of Nottinghamshire and your Committee feels confidence that this support will be forthcoming.
It is with much regret that we record the passing in 1963 of three former stalwarts of the County XI, viz. Arthur Carr, John Gunn and E (Ted) Alletson. Arthur Carr, a former Captain of the County and England, was a pugnacious batsman, who brought the same qualities of fearless aggression and uncompromising zest into his captaincy. They won him many admirers for he was a courageous leader of men, with the ability to command and return loyalty, and a natural air of authority. He led the County XI in 1929, the last occasion they won the County Championship. John Gunn, a brother of George and nephew of William, was a left-arm slow bowler, a more than useful batsman and a fine cover-point. He played in six Test Matches against Australia. Ted Alletson will always be remembered for his record score of 189 in 90 minutes against Sussex at Hove in 1911.
The Committee are pleased to note an increase in the number of persons (35,355) who paid admission although this number is considerably less than 10 years ago (90,287). This reflects a welcome increase in Match Receipts which would have been much greater had the Yorkshire match not been affected by the weather.
Your Committee once more wishes to record their warm appreciation to the Committee and Members of the Supporters Association who have again made a very generous donations to the Club. It is impossible to visualise what the financial position of the Club would be without the valuable aid which has been received for many years past from this source. The Club’s share of the receipts from the Test Matches with the West Indies reflect the success which this popular team enjoyed and the important impact that they generally made on the game in this country.
The Committee takes this opportunity of offering to their Captain, Frank Worrell, their warmest congratulations on the recent award of a Knighthood.
We take this opportunity of extending a warm welcome to the 1964 Australian Team to Trent Bridge where the First Test Match will be played 4th to 9th June inclusive.
The Committee have had under consideration plans for various alterations and improvements to the Pavilion but have decided, in view of the financial position that no action to be taken at present. Alternative suggestions have been put forward and these are now examined.
The more extensive use of the new Public Address System in 1963 proved most popular and we will continue to use this medium for keeping our spectators informed during the hours of play.
Your Committee wish to record their warmest thanks to John Player & Sons, Ltd. for the kind hospitality which they extended to the Notts and Leicester 2nd XI’s on the occasion of their match at Aspley Lane, Nottingham.
After several years in the doldrums, we take genuine pleasure in submitting this report. In surveying a season which may well prove to be a turning point in the Club’s history – a season in which everyone connected with the Club rose to the occasion – it would be churlish if we failed to acknowledge that without the loyal support of the members – so freely given in 1963 and throughout the years of adversity – the efforts of the players and officials would have counted for nothing.
R.J. de C. Barber