Historical Records Update - 1931 to 1937

The latest update to the Club website's history section has been completed with the scores and averages for the years from 1931 to 1937 added to the years previously published. Cumulative averages are now available that cover the years from 1931 to the present day and the career records, which build on the figures produced by TC Riddell, have been adjusted for these years.

Why these years?

The plan has always been to build on the work carried out by TC Riddell, who produced books that covered the years from 1885 to 1959, and ultimately publish every year of the Club's existence to the website. This would result in his work becoming accessible to a larger audience and at the same time allow a few minor errors to be corrected. Additionally it would be possible and practical to provide some greater detail than was possible in the books with scorecards for selected games being made available.

It seemed logical to update the website in a manner that followed the year splits of the book and the supplements but we are now at the position where we are ready to cover the years in the first book that runs from 1887 to 1937. This is too big a range of years to work on in one go and therefore the updates will from now on be produced in small periods of five to seven years at a time.

The first of these periods has been completed and the seven years that are covered are those when Reg Hollingdale was the professional. It seemed to make some sense to cover all of these years in one go.

There are a number of conventions in TC Riddell's books that it has been decided to maintain, or in one case not to, and these are detailed below. Some difficulties have also been encountered whilst assembling the figures and these are also described.

Lack of scorebooks

The major difficulty that required to be surmounted was the lack of the scorebook for all but one year. This has been a problem that has previously been encountered but for this period the coverage in the Greenock Telegraph has proved to be sufficient to provide accurate details and statistics.

The British Newspaper Archive has also been an invaluable source of information and a few gaps in the Telegraph coverage have been filled from some of the papers that this archive covers. As the number of papers in the archive is constantly on the increase there is a hope that more gaps can be filled.

It has been decided not to publish every scorecard, at least not at this stage. The work required to do this is just too time-consuming but each year has a number of scorecards recorded for matches which have been deemed to be of interest, for example where there has been an outstanding individual performance or there has been a close finish.


In TC Riddell's books, professionals for Greenock and all other clubs were printed without initials. This was in line with the distinction in first-class cricket between 'Players' and 'Gentlemen'. This distinction ended in time for the start of the 1963 season and from that point onwards, professionals had their initials provided, all players being treated identically. This may be revisited at a later date but for the time being, these records will follow the method used in TC Riddell's books until 1963 when all players are shown in the same way.

Batting on after the game has been won

One practice, which seems scarcely believable nowadays, came to an end in the 1950s. It was sometimes the practice for the team batting second, on overtaking the first innings score, to carry on batting and for the runs scored in this extra play to be recorded and stated as the official result. This would happen sometimes just to finish the over in which the winning runs were scored and sometimes to finish the allocated overs or time, although on occasions the batting team would have mercy on the losers and declare early. Latterly, it seems to have been used to give a batsman the chance to complete a century or a fifty - the game on July 7 1956 against Golfhill appears to be the last time that this happened when the Golfhill batsman Jack Barton was eventually dismissed on 99 after the game continued to give him the chance to obtain his century.

It is hard to understand now that a losing team would consent to playing on in such circumstances. The practice was certainly very prevalent in the years leading up to World War Two and there are instances where teams were dismissed for a very low total and then had to field as their opponents racked up a huge score in response. Easy runs, one might think, for batsmen in such cases. It is sometimes not possible to work out when the winning run was scored and it is certainly not possible to work out the individual scores of the batsmen at the crease at the point of victory so there is no alternative but to go with the published scores for the team and the batsmen and include them in the records. This is certainly what happened with the club averages as publihed in the Telegraph.

Greenock tours

TC Riddell's book and supplements recorded separately the matches when Greenock were on tour. These matches were not included in the year-end averages but the individual scores were included in the career totals that were published in his book. It would also be fair to say his books are not always consistent in this matter and there are occasions where the tour has been included in the year-end averages, eg the 1938 and 1939 mini-tours to the Borders. It has been decided to do away with this convention and therefore the tour games and scores are now included in the year-end averages. The minutes of the Club make it clear that the tours to Belfast from 1931 to 1936 were deemed to be 1st XI games and that the averages should contain the scores from these games and indeed the averages published in the Telegraph at the end of each season did include these games.

John Kerr

Somewhat surprisingly in an era where using a player's first name was the exception and not the rule when reporting on cricket matches, John Kerr was frequently denoted in many papers, not just the Greenock Telegraph and not just in articles but also in scorecards, as John Kerr and not J Kerr. TC Riddell's book followed that way of denoting him and it has been decided to do the same in all the averages and scorecards on the website.