Committee Report 1964

The 1964 season proved disappointing, particularly after 1963 when everyone hoped that we were to see a resuscitation of Nottinghamshire cricket. The weather was blameless, apart from the Test Match, the County programme suffered few interruptions. Unfortunately, some of the cricket we saw at Trent Bridge during the past season did not measure up to the good summer. It was most disappointing both for your Committee and Members. The causes of the falling-off in the performance of the County XI are difficult to assess, but there is no doubt that Brian Bolus did not enjoy the success he did in 1963 and this was reflected in the performances of some of the other batsmen.

Maurice Hill was the most successful of the regular batsmen, but his batting was either brilliant or modest. His fielding was again outstanding. Norman Hill did not find the form of which he is capable, as a result of which far too much responsibility was placed on the less experienced players. Ian Moore played some useful innings and is to be congratulated on scoring the first century against the Australian Tourists. Barry Whittingham, plagued with injuries, could not reproduce his 1963 form. Michael Smedley showed promise and could develop into a useful batsman. Although he did not obtain a place in the side in the early part of the season, Carlton Forbes, in taking 54 wickets, headed the Club’s bowling averages and finished seventh in the National averages.

Ian Davidson again bowled enthusiastically and was, perhaps, unlucky not to take 100 wickets again. Keith Gillhouley gave steady support and Andrew Corran, on his return to the side, showed improvement . One of the highlights of the season was the emergence of Michael Taylor as one of the brightest all-round prospects on the staff. He could make his place secure if his progress continues. We were delighted to welcome back Gamini Goonesena on his return from Australia and if business commitments allow, we hope he will be available in 1965.

Geoff Millman kept wicket competently and played some very useful innings. He was unlucky not to make a century in the match against Glamorgan at Trent Bridge. He carries out his duties as Captain with cheerfulness, consideration and thought and is most anxious to lead the team to a place in the top half of the Championship Table.

John Clay again rendered excellent service as Captain of the 2nd XI which made a very encouraging re-entry into the Minor Counties Competition. David Baker bowled well and showed promise on his limited appearances with the First Team. We take the opportunity of acknowledging the services of George Thornley who, although not on the staff, made frequent appearances as 2nd XI wicket-keeper for which he was awarded his 2nd XI cap.

Your Committee decided not to retain the services of John Cotton and Bill Rhodes. We wish both players well wherever their future may be.

The Colts XI – newly promoted to Division I of the Notts Amateur League – had a most successful season with John Parkin and Keith Stevenson outstanding with the bat. Graham Frost is to be congratulated on being awarded the ‘Best Young Cricketer of the Year’ trophy by the League. Frank Woodhead, who has skippered the team since its inception three seasons ago, has decided to retire and we take this opportunity to record our warmest appreciation of his contribution to the success of this venture.

After waiting eight years for an Australian Test Match to return to Trent Bridge it was bitterly disappointing that it should have been so cruelly interfered with by the weather. On the first day the Club was honoured with a visit from HRH The Duke of Edinburgh who took lunch with the President and other Club guests. He expressed great disappointment at not seeing any cricket but he appeared to enjoy his stay which included taking tea with both teams.

The South Africans will be welcome visitors to Trent Bridge in 1965 for the second Test Match. In addition, an equally warm welcome awaits the New Zealand team when they play the County. As an experiment these two teams will each make a short tour of this country in 1965 – New Zealand in May/June and South Africa in July/August – and will each play three Test Matches.

The first Nottinghamshire Cricket Festival, held in July, was a highly successful experiment and is to be repeated in 1965 during the Sussex and Warwickshire matches. Your Committee wish to thank all those who gave their financial and practical support to this event and in particular The Lord Mayor and Corporation of Nottingham who, in addition to taking a marquee on the ground, gave a Civic Ball at The Council House to mark the occasion. Our thanks are also due to John Player & Sons for the interest and support which they gave to the Festival and also for the magnificent gift of a Silver Cigarette Box which they presented to the Club on the occasion of the Test Match. Suitably inscribed, it bears the records of the match with details of the teams and scores.

Alderman F A Small, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council, very kindly presented the Club with a new Flag. For this spontaneous and generous gesture, and for personally hoisting the flag, the Club wishes to record its warm appreciation.

As was to be expected, the Membership showed a substantial increase and we hope that all members, old and new, will not only maintain their valued support, but will continue their efforts to recruit further members. It cannot be emphasised too strongly or too often that to maintain First Class cricket in the County, a strong and virile membership is essential. An examination of the Accounts will illustrate this only too clearly. Of the three main items of income – Membership, Test Match distribution and donations by the Supporters’ Association – the former is the most vital and should be maintained at the highest possible level.

One could devote much space to thanking Mr. E A Marshall and the Committee of the Supporters’ Association who have for many years contributed so generously to the Club’s Funds. But even this energetic body is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain its support on the same scale as in the past and the Cricket Club and its members must be ever mindful of the necessity for new measures and ideas to make the Club self-supporting.

Your Committee has decided to extend the press Box in order that the catering facilities for the press during the Test Match may be improved. Also it is hoped that during County games the extension can be used by Members and others. Improvements to the toilet amenities on the popular side of the ground are also to be carried out. The total cost of these two major items is expected to be in the region of £14,000 which will be met from Reserve Funds.

The President, whose term of office expires at the Annual General Meeting, has nominated Mr R J de C Barber as his successor. He is supported in this by the Committee who have every confidence that the nomination will be approved by the members at the Annual Meeting. Mr. Barber has served as a member of the Committee since 1935 and for the past eight years as Chairman, a position he wishes to relinquish after the Annual Meeting.

This report would not be complete without an expression of thanks to the retiring President, Mr E A Marshall. It would not be an overstatement to describe him as the most dynamic President that the Club – in a long and illustrious line – has ever possessed. All members, particularly those who have come to know him personally, will take pleasure from knowing that, still as an officer of the Club, his interest and services to the Club will continue undiminished.

Your Committee is fully aware of the need for maintaining and improving the playing strength and this aspect is constantly under review. We shall continue to look inside and outside the County boundaries for recruits and give trials to young players who are recommended to the Club, including those brought to our notice by the Club Coach, Frank Shipston, and by Walter Keeton, who now undertakes scouting duties for the Club. It is however, not our policy to engage players unless we are convinced that they are, or could be, better than our present staff.

Finally, very sincere thanks to all our members. We have said this before and we say it again, that we believe we have the most loyal membership that any County Cricket Club could wish for and your Committee pledges itself to do everything possible to make your membership a pleasurable and rewarding investment.

In addition our thanks due to the Secretary, the members of the Office and Groundsmen’s Staff, for the manner in which they once again carried out their duties during the past year.

R J de C. Barber, Chairman