Captain – GS Sobers (JB Bolus when Sobers was unavailable);
Championship – 11th (Played 24, Won 4, Lost 8, Drawn 12);
John Player League (40 overs) - 10th (Played 16, Won 7, Lost 9);
Gillette Cup (60 overs) – Lost in Quarterfinals
The year started on a very sad note, with Eddie Marshall, the driving force behind the Supporters’ Association, dying whilst attending the club’s AGM.
The main cricketing news was the cancellation of South Africa’s scheduled tour of England which led to 21 years Test isolation for the Springboks due to their country’s apartheid policy. The Test series was replaced by five unofficial Test matches against a Rest of the World side captained by Garry Sobers; which meant the Notts Captain missed ten championship matches. This was another major blow for Notts, who had been without Sobers for two-thirds of the previous season due to the West Indies tour. The “Test”, which England won by eight wickets, attracted only 16,000 fans over the five days and contributed to Notts losing £30,478 in the financial year.
In a cost cutting measure, the professional playing staff consisted of 13 players plus Sobers and remarkably Notts only used 15 players in the 24 championship fixtures, finishing eleventh (eighth in 1969) with Kent being county champions after coming strong in the second half of the season. This included a three wicket run-chase triumph over Notts at Folkestone.
Despite his limited availability, Sobers was brilliant with the bat, scoring 1154 runs @76.93 including five centuries; stand-in skipper and opening bat Brian Bolus was leading run-scorer with 2,033 runs @52.12. They were well supported by Mike Harris, Mike Smedley and Basher Hassan who each hit over 1,000 championship runs. For Hassan this was his best season to date – he scored his runs quickly and was quite brilliant in the covers – and he was awarded his County Cap for his efforts. Smedley was an accomplished stroke maker and recorded a personal best of 149 in the victory at Cardiff. With a tiny squad, Basford-born Graham Frost was given plenty of opportunities to establish a place and there were signs that his early promise was maturing with his 107 against Surrey at Trent Bridge being the highlight.
The bowling was a disappointment as Notts struggled to take wickets, not helped by the featherbed pitches at Trent Bridge. Only four victories were achieved and in only two of these were the opponents bowled out twice. The unavailability of Sobers hindered the bowling effort, which was further hampered by injuries to left-arm seamer Carlton Forbes and Barry Stead’s ankle problem which meant he missed the latter half of the season. Dave Halfyard bowled manfully clocking up 808.4 overs but his wickets were expensive and his best bowling was an underwhelming 3-29. ‘Knocker’ White was the leading wicket-taker with 65 wickets with his accurate off-spin. Towards the end of the season, Nottingham-born Peter Plummer was introduced into the eleven and he took 17 wickets @23.76 with his slow left-arm spin to finish top of the bowling averages.
Notts signed 26 year-old David Pullan as wicket-keeper to replace Deryck Murray who, although playing for the Rest of the World side, was studying at Nottingham University and did not play county cricket. Pullan, who followed the well trodden path from Yorkshire to Notts, kept well but his runs were non-existent scoring only 103 @11.44. The only other debutant was 19 year-old Peter Johnson, a former Nottingham High School right-hander had gained a Cambridge University blue in the same season. Johnson played in two championship games in 1970 and was with Notts until 1977, appearing in 58 first-class fixtures; his most successful season was
in 1975 where he hit 1,063 first-class runs @32.21.
In the John Player League Notts finished tenth. The eight home games featured contests at Worksop, Newark and, for the first time, the John Player Ground on Aspley Lane. In this inaugural game on the ground, ‘Pasty’ Harris hit an undefeated 104 as Hampshire (Barry Richards absent hurt) were beaten by 34 runs. Included in the Notts line-up for this match was Harold Rhodes, the former Derbyshire and England paceman, who took 3-28; he played in a further two John Player fixtures for Notts in 1970. Harris was the leading run-scorer for Notts in the Sunday League with 596 runs @45.84. Mike Taylor took 24 wickets @19.83.
In the Gillette Cup, Notts started with a five-wicket victory at Edgbaston – Sobers 70 not out – and beat Leicester at Grace Road. In the Quarter-Final at Trent Bridge, Notts scored 232-5, Harris 101 and Sobers 96 not out, the pair adding 169 for the fourth wicket. Somerset knocked off the runs with two overs and five wickets to spare. Harris had the distinction of sharing with Somerset’s Roy Virgin the milestone of hitting a ton in county cricket’s three competitions.