To kick off the 500th Anniversary celebrations, we are putting on an exhibition at Nottingham University and a large part of my time currently is searching through the many interesting stories in the Archives and choosing what to include. One of the best is that of Reg Simpson (ON 31-36). Reg was the son of a Grocer on the Foxhall Road. From a young age he was obsessed with cricket and had an ability of mythic proportion. As a Nottingham High Schoolboy at the age of 13, having participated in a remarkable opening partnership of 467 (obviously no one else got a go that day) with Henry Betts in a house game, Simpson found himself selected for the High School 1st XI. Later, his abilities at a higher level showed in a score of 134 not out for Nottinghamshire against the RAF at Trent Bridge in 1940. Just before leaving England with the R.A.F., he scored no less than 529 runs in 9 days, for an average of nearly 59 – all against first rate opponents. His career was slowed down by the war but by no means stopped as we hear in a letter to the school from teammate D.J.Furley printed in The Nottinghamian in December 1944.
“D.J.Furley (1930-40) Lieut. R.A., writes to say that in a recent visit on duty to Bombay, he was tempted to look in at a cricket match there, and was amazed and delighted to find R.T.Simpson (31-36) at the wicket and performing with his usual skill”.
The high point of his career, however, came in the MCC tour of Australia in 1950-51, when his 156 not out gave England their first win against Australia since 1938.
Amassing over 30,000 runs in his career. Simpson scored 64 centuries in all, captained Notts until 1960 and served on the Committee until he retired. Still remembered by contemporaries at the school and lauded by a generation of cricket fans, Reg is now living a somewhat quieter life in Suffolk.
Many thanks to Peter Wynne-Thomas Archivist of Notts CCC for his advice and the loan of the photograph.