Championship – 17th
Gillette Cup (60 overs) – Second Round
Captain – N W Hill
Notts engaged four new players for 1966. Bob White, the 29-year old hard-hitting left-hand batsman who had been capped by Middlesex in 1963, two overseas players, Basharat Hassan from Kenya and Ismail Garda born in South Africa but educated in Pakistan, and finally Roy Swetman. The ex-Surrey and England wicket-keeper came in to replace Geoff Millman, who had retired at the end of 1965. Swetman kept wicket splendidly (59 catches and two stumpings) and made many useful contributions with the bat (823 runs @21.65) including 115 against Essex at Trent Bridge. Hassan only played against Oxford University and Garda was never to play for the first team.
Norman Hill replaced Millman as skipper and said prior to the start of the season: “If we are to lift ourselves off the bottom of the table, it will mean really hard work. Anyone not prepared to work hard may as well collect his cards and leave”.
As an experiment, two county home matches would involve play on Sundays. The Committee also decided to stage the home match in early July with Lancashire on the Ransome & Marles Ground at Newark – the first county championship game to be played in that town. The match ended in a dour draw.
The clutch of new players – Deryck Murray the West Indian Test wicketkeeper batsman joined Notts from Cambridge University in July – and the new captain did not improve the county’s standing. Three matches were won and there were 11 defeats and the county retained the wooden spoon. Victories were at the expense of Hampshire (by seven wickets at Bournemouth), Northants (by three wickets at Northampton) and Gloucestershire (by 88 runs at Trent Bridge), the bowling of Carlton Forbes being mainly responsible for the last two.
The Hampshire game at Trent Bridge in early June was the first involving Sunday cricket, 4,500 came to see the day’s play. This match was to end in a controversial manner. Hampshire were 236 for five in their second innings prior to the last ball being bowled. They required one run to level the scores or two to win. Henry Horton, the striking the batsman, played the last ball from Davison, back along the pitch and started to run. Ian Davison attempted to pick up the ball, but it was kicked from his grasp by Horton and the run completed. According to the umpires Notts did not appeal for obstruction and thus the scorers counted the run and the totals were tied. When the players returned to the pavilion it took half an hour of deliberation to decide the result. It was agreed that the scores were level and thus Hampshire received extra points.
Three players topped 1,000 championship runs, Brian Bolus (1,253 runs @26.10), Mike Smedley (1,121 runs @28.02), Ian Moore (1,104 runs @26.28), but generally there was lack of consistency and although Bolus made more runs than any of his colleagues his painstaking methods were not always appreciated by the spectators. Murray’s exciting batting (672 runs @33.60) helped to brighten the gloomy season. Captain Hill struggled with the bat with 878 runs @19.08. White scored 841 runs @18.28. All-rounder Mike Taylor scored 807 runs @21.23 and took 58 wickets @30.53.
Notts’ main failing was the absence of variety in their attack. For the second season in succession, the left-arm medium-paced bowling of Forbes was outstanding, taking 106 wickets @22.11. Ian Davison (63 wickets @28.25) began well as opening partner to Forbes but, beset at mid-season by injury, he faded and eventually lost his place. Bob White (38 wickets @29.07), whose off-breaks had never been used by Middlesex, took 5-35 in the win over Hampshire at Bournemouth. Two medium-fast bowlers, Alec Johnson and Barry Stead (left-arm), were drafted into the side on occasions and their performances were steady rather than spectacular. White’s off-spin was the only alternative to seam bowling, slow left-arm Keith Gillhouley ran into “throwing” trouble, and his form suffered accordingly so that his appearances were severely restricted. The outlook was not entirely black, Notts’ keenness in the field was refreshing and Hill, generally, made the best of his most limited resources.
Two other new faces was a right-handed batsman John Parkin from Kimberley (a feeble 100 runs @7.14 in ten appearances) and right-arm medium-fast bowler John Howarth from Stockport who took 42 wickets for the Second Eleven in 1966 and was tried in two championship games.
Four players left the staff at the end of the year – Gillhouley, Davison who took a business appointment, and two batsmen Mervyn Winfield (one appearance in 1966) and Barry Whittingham (461 runs @23.05).
In the Gillette Cup, Notts received a bye in the first round but lost in the Second Round by 19 runs at New Road. Worcester. The home side were bowled out for 179 with right-arm seamer Johnson taking 4-37, but Notts replied with 160 all out with four overs still to bowl.
The West Indies toured England in 1966 and the Third Test, played at Trent Bridge, proved most popular, over 100,000 attending during the five days. The West Indies, with Basil Butcher hitting 209 and Garry Sobers a fast 94, won by 139 runs. Tom Graveney (109) and Colin Cowdrey (96) were the main contributors for England.
There was a small surplus on the year of £483, but the County Club had an overdraft of £16,000 and the Committee was so concerned that a Notts Cricket Development Association was founded by Frank Woodhead in order to look at ways of developing the ground so as to form a sound financial base.