Schweppes Championship – 4th (W 7, L 7, D 7, Abandoned 1)
Nat West Trophy (60 overs) – Second Round
Benson and Hedges Cup (55 overs) – Runners-up
John Player League (40 overs) – Joint 5th (W 8, L 6, T 1, NR 1)
Captain – C E B Rice
To celebrate the winning of the Championship the previous year, a reception was held at County Hall and a special Championship Dinner with 600 guests took place at the Sherwood Rooms in April. In the same month the cricketers, with leading officials of the Club, went to Buckingham Palace where they were met by the Duke of Edinburgh, who presented Cricket Manager Ken Taylor with the Lord’s Taverners’ Trophy.
In the close season, Notts signed Mike Hendrick, the 33 year-old Derbyshire and England seam bowler, but they released Peter Hacker, who was then engaged by Derbyshire. Mike Harris retired and took on the job of manager of the Trent Bridge Squash Club.
Notts went to Lord’s for the now traditional County Champions v MCC match, but the match was a rain ruined draw. The Championship campaign divided itself into two parts. Notts won four out of the first six matches; Lancashire (by an innings and 37 runs at Old Trafford), Hampshire (by 272 runs at Trent Bridge), Worcestershire (by nine wickets at Trent Bridge) and Kent (by ten wickets at Trent Bridge) were all convincingly outplayed. By mid June Notts were third in the table with a game in hand over the two counties above them. Rain then virtually washed out the Warwickshire game at Trent Bridge and the whole of the fixture at Harrogate versus Yorkshire. These two draws were followed by two decisive defeats by Essex and Middlesex, both at Trent Bridge and a second defeat by Middlesex at Lord’s. Notts’ hopes of retaining the Championship disappeared. Due to wins against Leicestershire (by an innings and 105 runs) and Sussex (by six wickets) in the final two matches, Notts came fourth in the final table.
The reason for the lack of success was that the trio of Richard Hadlee, Clive Rice and Hendrick, which should have formed the best seam attack in county cricket, was reduced at best to two of the three and more often just Hadlee (59 wickets @14.16) alone. In fact two of the wins were gained in the absence of all three. Hendrick (26 wickets @15.42) played in only nine matches and his injury problems hampered his cricket all season. A neck injury limited Rice to 78.5 overs and six wickets in the championship. Kevin Cooper became the most used bowler, sending down 586 overs and taking 57 wickets @25.35 each. Kevin Saxelby, the young seam bowler from Laxton was give more opportunities and took 32 wickets @22.75. Another young fast bowler who was given an extended trial was Nigel Illingworth (10 wickets @32.50), a tall fair haired 21 year old from Denstone College.
Injury also reduced Mike Bore’s (21 wickets @22.19) six appearances and Notts introduced Peter Such (25 wickets @29.48), born in Scotland, but raised in East Leake. He was an off-spinner of exceptional promise, his best innings analysis were 5-112 in the Notts 106 run win at Cheltenham College in August. Eddie Hemmings’ skills were at last recognised by the England selectors and he appeared in two Tests v Pakistan, then was chosen for the England tour to Australia. Hemmings (48 wickets @25.85) also made his mark with the bat – hitting his maiden first-class hundred (127 not out) against Yorkshire at Worksop.
Randall (653 runs @43.53) was Notts best batsman – he was also back in favour with the selectors – and, appearing in all six Tests, only made 10 championship matches. John Birch (940 runs @36.15) and Basharat Hassan (918 runs @34.00) had good batting seasons, but Rice (1,049 runs @32.78) was not as prolific as 1981. Paul Todd (305 runs @19.06) failed so often that he was dropped, Hassan and Tim Robinson (879 runs @27.46) becoming the county’s opening pair in the second half of the summer, Todd asked to leave the staff at the end of the year. Hadlee (807 runs @31.03) and the excellent wicket-keeper Bruce French (681 runs @25.22) were mainstays of the lower middle order.
Paul Johnson, the 17 year old from Balderton, whose attacking batsmanship had been piling up runs in the Second Eleven, was tried in four championship games and won a place in the Young England side. Mark Fell (315 runs @17.50) from Farndon hit a maiden hundred against Essex, although did little else in his 10 games.
In summary, the championship season compared to 1981 was very much like the morning after. Injuries were largely to blame and seriously affected the bowling strength, but too often the batting let them down.
If Notts failed to hold the Championship, they had a better year in limited-overs cricket. Winning all four of the Benson & Hedges preliminary matches, the county met Leicestershire in the Quarter Finals at Trent Bridge. Batting first they are only scored 156, but some very tight bowling by Hendrick, Cooper and Bore meant that Leicester needed 10 off the final over and then four off the last ball – Notts won by two runs. Hadlee had been absent from that game, but his batting won the home Semi-Final tie with Lancashire when, despite a hamstring injury, he hit 55 not out, taking Notts to victory by four wickets.
Notts met Somerset in their first ever Lord’s final. However nerves got the better of Notts, put into bat they were dismissed for a paltry 130, Joel Garner 3-13. Somerset had no difficulty in reaching this modest target, winning by nine wickets and 21.5 overs to spare.
In the Nat West Bank Trophy, Rice returned his one notable bowling performance of the year, taking 6 for 18 at Hove and enabling Notts to beat Sussex by nine wickets in the first round. In the next round against Gloucestershire, Notts had a weak line-up, lacking Hadlee and Hendrick, and with Rice unable to bowl. As it was the batting collapsed and Gloucester won by nine wickets.
Eight wins were gained in the Sunday League and put Notts, after a poor start, into fifth place – if they had won their final game, v Sussex at Hove, the county would have finished third. Rice thoroughly maintained his splendid reputation in JPL cricket and was the outstanding batsman with 692 runs @57.66. Hemmings was the leading wicket-taker with 15 wickets @24.20. The match in June versus Yorkshire at The Circle in Hull ended in a tie.
Left-hand bat Neil Weightman and all-rounder Ian Pont (brother of Essex all-rounder Keith) were not retained at the end of the season. In another cost cutting exercise club veteran Bob White who was in charge of Second Eleven was also released.
There was no Test at Trent Bridge, but 10,231 spectators came to watch the Prudential International v Pakistan. The weather was excellent, Pakistan scored 250-6, Allan Lamb hit a century and England won by seven wickets.
Financially 1982 was not pleasant. The firm which organised ground advertising on many of the major cricket grounds went into liquidation and Notts lost some £30,000 and a total deficit for the year of £75,682 was announced. Philip Carling, the chief executive, left at the end of the year and moved to Glamorgan CCC. Brian Robson, the club accountant, was promoted to be the new Secretary.
On a sad note, Bill Thornley, the Notts first eleven scorer, died during the summer after a few days’ illness. In his place Notts appointed Les Tomlinson and Len Beaumont as joint scorers.