I’m a member of the management committee of the South Notts Cricket League, and last Wednesday four of us were very kindly invited to attend a day’s cricket at Trent Bridge as guests of the president of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. It was, as expected, a lovely day out. The sun shone, the food and wine were excellent, and there was plenty of chance to talk cricket and even to chat to one or two of the players.
It was also the last chance to see the lovely old ground in its present form. Today, one of the stands on the Trent Bridge Inn side of the ground will be demolished, with a new stand to be in place by the start of next season. Hopefully it won’t affect the character of what is an intimate and friendly venue too much, and the signs are good. The Radcliffe Road Cricket Centre and the Fox Road Stand, both recent developments, have enhanced what was already a great place to watch cricket.
My only disappointment on the day was that Derek Randall is not among the ex-players still involved with the club. My own first memory of Trent Bridge is watching the test match vs Australia there on the TV in 1977, and seeing the newly-recalled Geoff Boycott run out local hero Randall for 0. The ground went silent, and to be fair to Geoff, he made up for things slightly by having the decency to look horrified by what he had done, and by scoring a century.
Randall was a true character, a sometimes brilliant batsman best remembered for his 174 in 1977’s Centenary Test, and for an even more valuable Ashes-winning 150 at Sydney in 1978-79. Even more, though, he was known for his incredible fielding, buzzing about at high speed to terrify batsmen into running themselves out, and occasionally taking catches with hands behind his back, or celebrating by turning cartwheels. It’s a cliché, but they don’t make them like that any more.