Tom Atkinson

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Tom Atkinson (1930–1990) was an English cricketer born in Millom, Cumbria, died on 2 September 1990 in Glasgow Scotland. Aged 59 years 340 days. He played for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club from 1957 to 1960 as Opening Bowler & Middle/lower order batsman. He was a Right-handed batsman (RHB) and Right-arm Fast medium bowler.

Personal Information[edit]

Height 5 ft 11 in

Domestic team information[edit]

First Class Career statistics (1957–1960) Nottinghamshire 1956–1960 Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club

Batting[edit]

Matches 64, Inns 104, N/O 19, Runs 1127, H/S 54 Ave 13.25

Bowling[edit]

Matches 64, Balls 10162, Runs 5157, Wkts 116, B/B 6/61, Ave 44.45, S/R 87.6, 5W 2, 10w 1.

Early Years[edit]

Thomas Atkinson (born 27 September 1930 Millom Cumbria) is a former cricketer who enjoyed a short first class career for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. Hailing from a poor background Tom spent his youth playing football and cricket for various local village teams and training to be a blacksmith. He was one of the first cricketers from Cumbria to make it into the professional county circuit.

National Service gave him the opportunity to see the world when he selected the Royal Navy for his two year stint. He spent very little time on ships though as the navy made use of his cricketing talents with inter-force contests. His ability with the cornet meant he was also in demand for Navy Bands and he spent much of his national serviced either playing with the navy cricket team or the navy band.

After he returned to civilian life he was spotted playing for his local team and was selected for Cumberland. He made his minor counties debut.[1] (aged 24) on 27/28 July 1955 against Northumberland. The game didn’t go well for Cumberland who suffered an innings defeat but Tom managed a creditable 2/44 off 19 overs. He was not at this stage given much credit with the bat and batted at number 11 and number 10 respectively in the match. Cumberland were not one of the strongest minor counties and had a poor season. Tom found himself slowly climbing up the order and by the end of the summer was batting at number 4 or 5. In 1956 he was awarded a contract with Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club after a successful trial. Things could have been different as he was due to have a trial with Hampshire several seasons before, but the scout that had seen him play and offered the trial was killed on his way back to Southampton and the recommendation was never made. He spent much of 1956 toiling in the seconds waiting for his chance to break into the first XI.

First Class Career[edit]

His first class debut came on an unseasonably warm 25 May 1957.[2] and what a baptism of fire it was, facing the touring West Indies team at Trent Bridge. West Indian cricket team in England in 1957 The Windies team felt very at home in the hot weather. Two of the “Three W’s”, Clyde Walcott and Everton Weekes notched up 183 runs between them, but this was eclipsed by Sir Gary Sobers highest first class score to date 219 not out. Tom bowled his heart out on debut, toiling away for 36 overs across both innings but returned the figures of 0/158.

Following this difficult start it was back into the second XI for most of the rest of the summer. Some of his bowling performances during this time were good though his batting was below par. Eventually he caught the selectors’ attention again and he made his championship debut against Sussex in Worthing on 17 August 1957.[3] Again though, he was faced with a flat pitch, and as the new boy was given the task of bowling into a strong wind. He returned figures that day of 1/89 off 32 overs. He found himself stranded with the bat in both Nottinghamshire innings. This was to happen quite often in his Nottinghamshire career. He played two further county games in 1957 against Lancashire and Leicestershire.

In 1958 after two matches in the second XI he got himself a first team berth and enjoyed his first full season travelling the country as a first team regular. Unfortunately Notts were a very poor team in 1958 and finished bottom of the county table. Tom and his fellow bowlers often found themselves defending poor totals, and the weather played its part with many matches rain affected in a wet cool summer.

The 1959 spring and summer were warm and the first game of the season at home against Worcestershire.[4] looked like being a good contest. Both teams had similar first innings with Worcestershire taking a narrow lead. Unfortunately the second Notts innings was a portent of things to come as they crashed to 66 all out giving Worcestershire an easy victory. The game was notable for Tom though who recorded his highest first class score (54) and only ever first class half century. It was a very dry and sunny cricket season, but for Notts it was another disappointing one and once again they finished bottom of the county table. In 1960 Tom’s first game was against Somerset on 7 May.[5] at home. It was a good contest but Somerset won by 119 runs. Tom’s batting performance was the best in any of his first class games, second top scoring 47 in the first innings before being caught on the boundary by the Australian Bill Alley and again running out of partners in the second innings on 46 not out. Later in the season, in a game beginning on 23 July [6], he recorded his best bowling figures, taking 10 Derbyshire wickets for 100 runs off 57.3 overs.

Tom’s last game as a county cricketer – though he didn’t know it at the time - was against Glamorgan.[7] in a rain affected match at Trent Bridge. The visitors scored 218 all out and Tom’s figures were 2/46 off 20 overs. He picked both wickets up in his second spell after opening the bowling as usual. The last bowl he bowled in first class cricket.[8] was a bouncer that the batsman left alone. He spent the remainder of the game in the slips watching the weather close in. The game was abandoned as a draw. That concluded another poor Nottinghamshire season as they finished second bottom of the championship. The club management offered Tom a contract extension, though with a young family to support and winter work for professional cricketers hard to secure he decided to leave the club and search for better job security. The following season however showed no improvement and Notts finished bottom of the table again. [9] At the age of 29 Tom’s first class career was over and at that age was unlikely to be resurrected.

Life After First Class Cricket[edit]

Tom had the opportunity of becoming a club professional in Scotland and in 1961(10) took up the offer from West of Scotland Cricket Club at Hamilton Crescent a. He also resumed his minor county career with Cumberland and combined the weekend playing and coaching duties at his new club with the rigours of minor county cricket. He played on and off for Cumberland until 1964 [11], when he played his last game against Warwickshire seconds on 11 August. After West of Scotland he went on to be club professional at Uddingston Cricket Club(12)in Lanarkshire and combined this with a full-time grounds-man job elsewhere. He was definitely happier playing with Uddingston who he felt treated him better than West had done. He had no ill feeling towards West of Scotland as in later life he returned to manage the Bar and catering for them.

Personal life[edit]

Tom married his childhood sweetheart Dorothy who resided only a mile or so away in Haverigg a neighbouring village to Millom in 1953. She travelled the length and breadth of the country with him as he pursued his ambition to be a professional cricketer. To this day she retains a book about cricket that Tom used as his inspiration to join the professional ranks. In July 1954 his only daughter Janet was born. He had two further children, both boys, David (1963) & Christopher (1973).

He gave up playing cricket competitively in the mid-seventies though continued to coach the junior players at the West of Scotland until his death and combined this with his role of Bar Manager. He had a series of cricket coaching short films made and shown by STV, but unfortunately these have been lost from their archives.

A few days before his planned retirement party he was playing a game of snooker with his youngest son Chris. As he bent to take a shot he complained of a pain in his head and collapsed. He was rushed to hospital and having initially received treatment for a stroke, a brain embolism was diagnosed. Despite the medical team's best efforts to treat his condition he died a few days later.

References[edit]

(1),(2),(3),(4),(5),(6),(7),(11) Cricketarchive.complayer number 27564
(8),(10) Personal diary extracts
(9)static.cricinfo.com

External links[edit]