Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The English Game: Nottinghamshire

by Balanced Sports columnist Ben Roberts.

The 2010 division one champions have for the most part of their history been a strong performer in first-class cricket. Nottinghamshire have collected six county championships, the most recent being last season and 2005. Nottinghamshire have always had the benefit, and in the present day this means even more, of having a home ground where test cricket is played. The revenue generated and facility improvements made to the ground from test cricket benefit greatly the county club.

Throughout the 20th century Nottinghamshire was serviced with players from coal mining families. The no nonsense approach to cricket that these hardened men brought also flowed onto English teams throughout the years. In the 1932-33 Ashes series the Australian batsmen faced Nottinghamshire's finest opening bowling pair in Harold Larwood and Bill Voce. Both Voce and Larwood throughout the 1920s and 1930s tore through many batsmen's defences for their native Nottinghamshire, both finishing careers with well over 1200 wickets each for the county.

In the 1977 centenary test match the man of the match was awarded to the Nottinghamshire batsman, and also a miners son, Derek Randall. Randall, best remembered in this match for doffing his cap to Dennis Lillee after having been hit by a Lillee bouncer, made 174 in the second innings. The innings was full of courage and fight, and nearly led the English to a remarkable victory.

Nottinghamshire have an exceptional list of non-British internationals who have played for them. Sir Garfield Sobers, Clive Rice, and Sir Richard Hadlee are three cricketers of international renown who have called Nottinghamshire home.

A county legend is a little known Australian test cricketer, leg-spinning all-rounder Bruce Dooland. Dooland played three test matches immediately post the second world war but found himself left out of the 1948 Ashes touring party. Dooland elected to emigrate to England to play professional Lancashire league cricket, and ultimately obtained residency. The combination of his residency status and exceptional league performances attracted Nottinghamshire to recruit the South Australian. In the only period where Nottinghamshire were less competitive Dooland was credited with holding the team together, including his still club record of 181 wickets in the 1954 season.

For the past seven championship seasons Nottinghamshire have enjoyed the services of David Hussey. Hussey has totalled thousands of runs during his time at Nottinghamshire. There was no slowing of his run making last season, when he totalled one of the county's highest individual scores of 251 not out (against Yorkshire). Hussey also captained the Nottinghamshire T20 team during the most recent season and had the services of his Victorian team mate Dirk Nannes.

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