Reginald Thomas Simpson
February 27, 1920, Sherwood Rise, Nottingham
November 24, 2013 (aged 93y 271d)
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Reg Simpson was a stylish opening bat for Nottinghamshire and England. Handsome, tall and dark, he cut an elegant figure at the wicket with his upright stance and flowing drives. A strong back-foot player, he hooked better than most tall men. He bowled occasional off-breaks, and was a fine fielder, especially in the covers. His first-class debut was delayed by the Second World War, and he was first seen playing for Sind in India, where he was stationed with the RAF.
Simpson was 26 before he played first-class cricket in England, but he made an immediate impression, and was selected to tour South Africa in 1948-49. He played a single Test on that tour without passing double figures, but when picked to play against New Zealand the following year he made a century in the middle order. As an opener he found it hard to displace Hutton and Washbrook, and later faced competition from others and was in and out of the Test side over the next six years. In 1951 he took over the captaincy of a weak Nottinghamshire, and shouldered the burden for the next decade. Intermittent back problems did not prevent him amassing sixty four first-class centuries, and playing 27 Tests.
Simpson's finest hour was probably the 156* that was a primary
contribution to England's first Test victory over Australia in 13 years, in
the final game of the 1950-51 tour. Batting at No. 3, he was on 92 when
the ninth wicket fell with England only 29 ahead. He took the attack to the
Australians magnificently, and the last pair put on 74. EW Swanton said of
this innings: "In such a mood Simpson's batsmanship looked akin to
greatness". Such moods came upon him rarely however, and he was never able
to reproduce the consistency of his county form at Test level. He retired
in 1960, served on the Nottinghamshire committee, was made an honourary
member of the MCC, and was a director of the bat-makers, Gunn and Moore.
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