Historical Records Update - 1938 to 1953

The latest update to the Club website's history section has been completed with the scores and averages for the years from 1938 to 1953 added to the years previously published. Cumulative averages are now available that cover the years from 1938 to the present day and the career records, which are based on the figures produced by TC Riddell, have been adjusted for those years.

Why these years?

Quite simply because they are the years that were covered by the first supplement to TC Riddell's monumental work that chronicled the Club's records from 1887 through to 1937.

The plan has always been to build on the work carried out by TC Riddell and ultimately publish every year 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. Hence this update.

There were a number of conventions in these books that it has been decided to maintain 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 scorebooks for  a number of years. This has been a problem that has previously been encountered and which has been countered by the extensive coverage given to the Club in the Greenock Telegraph. Nonetheless this update does have some gaps, particularly in the years 1946, 1947 and 1950 when it has not been found possible to obtain even brief scorecards of a small number of games. In addition, there are quite a large number of games where the full bowling analysis was not published.

There are still a few outstanding gaps in the records which it is hoped will eventually be filled but the published details and the averages calculated from the Telegraph scorecards are probably as accurate as can be achieved for the time being.

The British Newspaper Archive has also been an invaluable source of information and a number of gaps have been filled from some of the papers that they cover. As the number of papers is constantly on the increase there is 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. In this update, we have the issue of Bert Tobin who played for the Club as  a professional in 1938 and 1939 and as an amateur in 1946. In these years, he is treated as his playing status determines but his cumulative records show him as a professional. 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 just not possible to work out in many cases 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 that time so there is no alternative but to go with the published scores for the team and the batsmen and include them in the records.

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. This convention has been maintained although with reservations and may be adjusted at some point. It would also be fair to say that TC Riddell's book was 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. For the time being, the decision has been taken to report the tours in the same way as the original book.

World War Two

Cricket was played fairly extensively during the Second World War, as the Government felt that this would be good for morale, and this was indeed the case in the west of Scotland. Greenock played a full programme of friendlies during each year and the Rowan Cup was played for, although the trophy was never handed over to the winners, remaining in the possession of the 1939 winners - Greenock.

TC Riddell chose not to document these games nor include them in the Club averages. This seems a strange decision and is one that needs to be revisited.

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.