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Trent Bridge

A Base For Long-Term Success

By Cricket Manager, Ken Taylor, 1981

My aim when I accepted the post of cricket manager was to build a base from which Nottinghamshire would have long-term success and as I see it what we have done in the past 12 months is to take a significant step forwards.

But it was not, as some people might think, a one season wonder with the Championship success coming from nowhere. We had to build a platform for last year’s victory and finishing third the previous year was the base we needed to advance even further.

In fact, in last year’s report I suggested that the first Nottinghamshire trophy success since 1929 could be imminent. That was not simply wishful thinking. It was based on the fact that we had made steady progress since finishing bottom of the Championship table in 1977.

I could sense that our long-term plans were taking shape and assumed that if the Trent of improvement was maintained, we would have to be in contention for honours. That is how it turned out and it is stating the obvious to say that it was an immensely proud moment for me when we clinched the title by beating Glamorgan at Trent Bridge.

I accept that the players were a credit to the county and cricket in general with the positive way they tackled each game and the quality of entertainment they provided. Few, if any cricket followers would argue with that and it is absolutely essential that we do not allow those attitudes to change.

It will be a tragedy after all the hard work which has been put in if 1981 is remembered as a one-off season and it is my job to make sure that the standards are not allowed to slip.

In many respects, winning the Championship was easy compared with the challenge now facing us. For example, the pressures on the players will be much greater in the coming season because they will be expected to perform like champions. Those people who accepted us as regular losers in the past will now expect us to be regular winner and that is often and difficult pressure to live with.
If I am honest, I must accept that many crucial aspects favoured us last season. We were not handicapped by Test calls, had comparatively few injury problems and winning the toss in 10 of our home Championship games had obvious advantages. Clearly such things had a big influence on our success but the most satisfying thing was that we proved ourselves good enough to make the most of the breaks which came our way.

In previous years that would not have been the case. That presents progress and I hopefully this summer that not only will we show ourselves capable of cashing in on good fortune but also turn games our way when the luck works against us.

The challenge confronting us must not be umder-estimated but I am sure that the events of the past 12 months have made the players better equipped to meet it. The knowledge and experience they have accumulated along the way will be of considerable benefit and if our approach is the same, I am optimistic that 1981 will only be the start of an exciting era at Trent Bridge.

Although I would prefer not to single our individual players, inevitably I must mention Clive Rice and Richard Hadlee. Clive has been magnificent leader in every way and, as with Richard, his influence goes much deeper than what you seen in the middle. They take a pride in their work. Both are an example which others have willingly followed.

The singing of Mike Hendrick conforms that we are not content to sit back and gloat on last summer’s achievement and I will continue to be interested in any quality players who become available.

Our young players generally made a good progress last season – all were given  a taste of the frist0team atmosphere at some stage – and they have an important part to play if we are to remain successful.

The 2nd XI made a good start to the season but unfortunately failed to maintain it while the Bassetlaw League side finished third – one point behind second place Farnsfield – with a line-up which regularly included eight teenagers.

My thanks go to all the players for their efforts in memorable season and to assistant-managers Bob White and Mike Harris who have more than played their part.

Ron Allsopp and his staff have worked very hard and successfully to produce the fast, bouncy wickets which the TCCB request and they have been rewarded with consistently high marks from the umpires. Anyone who has regularly watched cricket at Trent Bridge over the years will realise that Ron has achieved the ‘impossible’ and he deserves considerably credit for it.

My thanks also go to john Cope, scorer Bill Thornley and our medical team of Graham Lyas and Dr, Mike Hutson and I would like to register my appreciation of Philip Carling, David Pullan and their respective staffs.

Their efforts make it possible for me to run the cricket side of the Club with relatively few financial restrictions and that has been a major factor in our 1981 success.