Full name John Desmond Clay
Born October 25, 1924, West Bridgford, Nottingham
Died February 11, 2011, Nottingham (aged 86 years 109 days)
Major teams Nottinghamshire
Batting style Right-hand bat
Education West Bridgford School
|First-class span||1948 - 1961|
John Clay was a solid opening batsman who played for Nottinghamshire for more than a decade and how remained connected to the county all his life.
Clay's county career was delayed by the war and then national service, but in 1947 he joined the Trent Bridge Ground Staff while playing as a professional in the Bradford League. He struggled to break into a powerful Nottinghamshire batting side, but had a few chances when the big names were on Test duty.
In 1951 he played 14 Championship matches when Reg Simpson was on England duty, making the first of his 11 first-class hundreds against Somerset and finishing the season with 851 runs at 44.78.
For the next four seasons he was an ever present, passing 1000 runs each year even though his average did not top 30. In 1952 he made his career high of 192 against Hampshire at Trent Bridge, a seven-and-a-half innings in which he did not give a chance.
He lost his place during a poor season in 1956, and apart from a return to form in 1957 when he again passed 1000 runs, he was not regarded as a regular until 1961 when he was appointed county captain. He had his best year - 1497 runs at 25.81 - but was unable to arrest the county's gradual decline and he did not play again after that year, although he continued to play for and captain the 2nd XI.
He remained an active member of the county, helping raise much-needed cash, and attended matches up to his death.
Thirty years ago England were battered, bruised, broken and blackwashed in the Caribbean