By Ken Taylor
I expected problems during the 1983 season, with a small staff and Richard Hadlee and Derek Randall likely to be missing for much of the time, but in the event it proved to be more difficult than I had imagined.
We started off well enough but first Richard joined the NZ party, and then Derek was 12th man for England during the World Cup. The final blow came when Clive Rice, who was in very good form, broke his hand and missed 19 games, including the vital Benson & Hedges tie. When he returned to the side he never quite recaptured his previous form and in fact did not complete 1000 first-class runs until the last game. John Birch, although inexperienced in the role of captain, did very well but, understandably, the loss of three world-class players made his task difficult. The side battled away through the season but in spite of good individual performances we did not put things together and too many catches were dropped.
In the NatWest we were drawn away at Worcester, the second year in succession that we were paired with the only other first class county in the first round and away at that! We enjoyed a very successful and exciting game there and won. In a simlar fashion to last year we then made a mess of the game against Susex in the next round.
We started well in the Benson & Hedges and although we won the first two games, and one was abandoned, we did not make enough runs in the last game and failed to qualify.
The John Player Special League results were disappointing. Only 10 individual scores of over 50 were registered by us throughout the season and some of our fielding was not sharp enough for the 40 over game.
In the 2nd XI competition, having only a small staff made it necessary to use a total of 36 players. Mike Harris had a difficult task as captain in view of the constant changes, but there were some good individual performances; particularly by Rob Kerr, a young Australian batsman over here on an Esso Scholarship. He finished with 839 runs at an average of 83.80. David White, a New Zealander also here on a scholarship, took a little time to adapt but played some good knocks in the latter half of the season. We were able to see plenty of other young players and we shall be watching their progress next season.
Although our Bassetlaw team, captained by Mike Harris, was composed of young inexperienced players, they finished in second place in the League and reached the final of the Jack Elliot Trophy.
In spite of lack of success at first class level there were some very encouraging signs. Tim Robinson scored 1545 runs and played so well that he must be considered as one of the best young batsmen in the country. John Birch completed 1000 runs for the second year running and on a number of occasions Basharat Hassan’s contribution proved invaluable. Mike Hendrick took 66 wickets and finished 4th in the national averages. He was well supported by Kevin Cooper and Kevin Saxelby, who was our most successful Sunday League bowler. Although Eddie Hemmings did not bowl as well as in previous seasons, due partly to a niggling injury, he bowled more overs than anybody. Mike Bore bowled steadily when called upon. Bruce French kept wicket well and scored 643 runs in Championship matches. Paul Johnson, at 18 years of age, made 612 runs and hit a maiden first class century.
Peter Such (18), in his first full season, did not have a great number of opportunities, but still took 20 first class wickets. Andy Pick (19), in his first season, made a promising start. These last three also represented Young England against Young Australia and acquitted themselves well. We were the only County to have as many as three players in the side.
Although they have a lot of work to do yet, the performances of our young players were most encouraging and reflect credit on our youth scheme.
Each season the Bassetlaw team is selected from those attending the coaching scheme so generously sponsored by Andrews Heat for Hire Ltd. In addition many youngsters attend coaching and recreational activities in various parts of the County, all masterminded by John Cope, who is assisted by Mike Bore during the winter months.
The batting for next season has been strengthened by the signing of Chris Broad, from Gloucestershire. He is left handed opening bat and I hope that he and Tim Robinson will form a successful partnership for some time to come.
Mick Newell, an 18 year old batsmen/wicket keeper, and Kevin Evans, a 19 year old all rounder, will be joining the playing staff next season. Both lads have been successful members of our Bassetlaw League team.
Ron Allsopp and his staff carried out their jobs in their usually efficient manner and I am sure that they were rewarded by the ground looking so well during the New Zealand Test Match, and the praise accorded by television and press commentators and others.
Finally I should like to take this opportunity to record my appreciation to scores, medical men, tea ladies, umpires, and all those without whose help the game could not go on.