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Trent Bridge

Report of Committee for 1967

Nineteen sixty-seven was again a season of disappointment. After achieving a respectable position well in the top half of the table during the early weeks the side slumped to the position of equal fifteenth, and failed to win a single game. Admittedly ill-luck played a part for in the games against Kent, Northants and Worcestershire twice victories were well in sight when the rain supervened to destroy our chances. But we cannot blame ill-luck for many of the displays.

Nevertheless, with the exception of the fielding which in the latter part of the season was inexcusably bad, the side played considerably better cricket than in the season of 1966. This stands out all the more when one remembers how cruelly we were handicapped by injury throughout the season. Alec Johnson who should have shared the opening attack was absent for the whole season, and Barry Stead and Ian Moore for several games. Very high praise must go to Carlton Forbes yet once again for his endurance throughout the season, and our congratulations on once again capturing 100 wickets. Your Committee have agreed to grant him a Testimonial in 1969.

Four of our batsmen topped the 1,000 runs, namely Hill, Bolus, Murray and Smedley. It was a great pleasure to see the return of Bolus to something of his old form and his innings against Northants at Kettering was one of the highlights of the season. Murray showed on a number of occasions what a fine cricketer he is and Smedley maintained that promise that he has always shown. Michael Taylor worked hard and is developing into a fine all-rounder. Deserving of a special word of praise is Basharat Hassan, not only for his all-round, if somewhat unorthodox ability, but his outstanding keenness and enthusiasm particularly in the field. In him we have a great cricket ‘character’. Swetman (apart from his wicket-keeping) and White showed disappointing form with regard to their experience and we hope for better things of the next season. Those incidentally, who may criticise our batsmen on the grounds of slow scoring may be interest to know that Notts were sixth in the table of the fastest scoring Counties with a run-rate of 42.15 per 100 balls.

Six of our staff will be leaving us – A Bull, I Garda, J Howarth, A Johnson, J Loates and P Watts. We thank them for their loyal service and they take with them our good wishes for success in the future.

Another who is giving up his official position with the Club is our Coach, John Clay. No praise can be too high for his decoction to Notts cricket in every capacity in which he has served the side and his popularity among players and members alike is perhaps his best reward. It is good, however, to know that he is not leaving Nottingham and that his ready help and guidance will still be available to us and we hope still to see much of him at Trent Bridge for many years to come.

Closely connected with John Clay are the Colts whom we must coagulate together with their skipper, Brian Wells, on their success in winning the League Championship. Once again, too, it is gratifying to note that the Second XI did well and that G. Frost, J. Parkin, J. Howarth enjoyed some success; and without singling anyone for individual mention, we would like to thank all the Club cricketers who turned out for the Second XI.

Our thanks are again due to many of the Business Houses in the City and County who have helped us in various ways – notably to the Directors of John Player & Sons for their support of the Single Wicket Competition and for their hospitality in the Second XI fixture against Surrey; to the Directors of Ransom & Marles Ltd., for the use of their ground at Newark – which incidentally was rated by the Umpires as one of the best pitches in the country – and for their hospitality during the fixture against Leicester; to Harry Spencer and Sons, Worksop and Mr J.W. Hutton of Tennats Brewery Ltd., Sheffield for their hospitality during the game against Northants at Worksop. We appeal to all Business Houses in the County to assist us to their upmost. This they can well do by ‘sponsoring’ certain home fixtures and the Secretary will at all times be glad to discuss with them the provision of luncheon parties or other facilities which they may care to use for their entertainment of their customers and friends.

Once again we must congratulate Frank Dalling and his staff for the preparation of the wickets of the highest standard at Trent Bridge. Criticism was levelled at the Worksop pitch, and but for this we should have undoubtedly have headed the M.C.C. table of the best county pitches; arrangements are already in hard for the improvement of Worksop pitch for next season.

Perhaps the highlight of the year was our first Members’ Dinner at the Elizabethan Rooms at which we were honoured by the presence of Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Brian Close and Billy Griffith. For all those who attended it was a memorable evening, so much so that your Committee have given much thought to the question of whether it should be repeated this coming spring. On balance they have decided that it should not, for one very simple reason that a good thing too often repeated can tend to pall. To assemble such a galaxy of personalities year after year is well-nigh impossible and the Committee feel that if this function is held once every two or three years there is infinitely better chance of maintaining the highest standards. This will inevitably cause disappointment to many but the Committee hope that all members will appreciate the reasoning.

The second Test Match v Pakistan was played at Trent Bridge and resulted in a win for England by 10 wickets. The game, unfortunately, was marred by the weather and consequently the attendance after a promising start on the opening day, was considerably down in comparison to that of the West Indies game in 1966. Our thanks are due to the members of the Nottingham City Fire Brigade who did a tremendous job in clearing away the flood water off the ground after one of the heaviest thunderstorms ever seen and thus enabling play to commence on time the following day.

Owing to his increased commitments arising from the merger of the City and County Police Forces, Mr J.E.S. Browne has felt it necessary to tender his resignation from the Committee after many years’ service. For personal reason too, Mr F.W. Bee has tendered his resignation. He has been a most loyal supporter of the Club and a member of the Committee since 1953 and latterly Chairman of the Finance Committee. In recognition of their valuable services your Committee have invited them both to become Vice-Presidents of the Club, an office which both have accepted. They offer to them in their sincere thanks for their help and advice which was always most readily given.

Once again we owe our most sincere thanks to the Supporters’ Association still the second largest in the country for their generous help, without which we could not exist, and  to the new Development Association we offer our best wishes for the success of their campaign which was launched at the Test Match.

The Committee feel members should be made aware of the Club’s polity in regard to matters associated with cricket and the action taken. For many years they have pressed for an alteration in the Registration Rules as they affect overseas-born players and were one of the first Clubs to support play on Sundays. They are of the opinion that some limitation should be imposed on seam bowlers; the number of overs (100) bowled in the first innings; the simplification of the LBW rule and are against points be given for a draw and suggest they only be given for a win for the first innings when there is a limitation to the number of overs bowled. They support the view that in the final innings the target should be set against overs and not time. In addition, they would prefer to see only one ball per innings used. They also support in the main recommendations made in the Clark Report on the future structure of cricket. The game, as it is played today, leaves much to be desired about and although the onus is on the players, there is still much that Committees are striving to do to encourage an improvement in this respect.

At last, however, the first of these policies has been rewarded with the amendment of the overseas registration rules to permit of the ‘Immediate Registration’ of one overseas player. And we have been amply rewarded in that we have secured Garfield Sobers who will Captain the side. We welcome him and wish him very success and happiness with us, and we are proud that once again there will appear in our annals the name of one of the great crickets of all time. We owe a sincere debt of gratitude to Edwin Marshall and the Supporters’’ Association for all that they did to make this possible.

Other new players whom we have engaged are G. Frost, R. Kelsall and D. Halfyard the latter to strengthen our pace attack.

With the advent of Sobers, Norman Hill most characteristically offered his resignation as Captain. We thank him most sincerely for all he has done in this capacity and in recognition both of this and of his long service and devotion to the Club we have granted him a Testimonial during the forthcoming season.

Finally no account of the year’s activities would be complete without expressing our thanks to the members for their support and whose suggestions or criticisms are always welcome and to our Playing Staff coupled with our wishes that the season of 1968 may be the one that marks the return of Notts to its rightful place in County Cricket.

H.T. Milnes, Chairman