Historical Records Update - 1954 to 1971

The latest update to the Club website's history section has been completed with the scores and averages for the years from 1954 to 1971 added to the years previously published. Cumulative averages are now available that cover the years from 1954 to the present day and the career records, which are based on the figures produced by TC Riddell, have been adjusted for those years.

TC Riddell's Books

The starting point for the work involved in this upload has been TC Riddell's monumental work that resulted in publications that have chronicled the Club's records from 1885 through to 1959. The first book covered the years 1887 to 1937 and this was followed by two supplements, the first covering 1885, 1886 and 1938 to 1953 and the second covering 1954 to 1959.

The website has to date gradually worked back from the current year to 1972 and 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. This determined that this latest update of the records would take the years covered back to 1954.

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 first problem that required to be surmounted was the lack of scorebooks for  a number of years. For the period of this update, the books for 1959 to 1965, 1967, 1970 and 1971 could not be located. Fortunately, the Greenock Telegraph in these years tended to print fairly full scorecards for the vast majority of games and this has enabled the records for these years to be produced with a reasonable level of accuracy. It should also be recognised that the late Iain Macarthur did a lot of work to put together a hand-written book covering the years 1960 to 1976 and this has provided useful backup for this latest update.

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.

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 it has been decided to maintain this convention in this upload. From 1963 onwards, professionals have their initials provided, all players being treated identically. This is slightly awkward as Bill Dow's period as Greenock's professional spanned this changeover. For the first two years of his engagement, he is shown simply as Dow but in 1963 he becomes WDF Dow. This may be revisited at a later date but for the time being, the records will follow the method used in TC Riddell's books.

Drawn matches and Sunday cricket

The draw is no longer part of the game in Scottish cricket but that did not use to be the case. In the Western Union, there were always draws right through to the end of the competition in 1997 and it was only during the time of the National League that games became win / lose only. Midweek cup ties always had a decisive result and even in the pre-war years, some midweek friendlies were decided on this basis but in the main friendlies without a winning conclusion were designated as draws. Time cricket was very much the order of the day apart from the midweek cup competitions and a very limited number of evening friendlies. Overs cricket was introduced in 1964 in the Union but draws were still allowed.

The introduction of the Scottish Cup and also the increase in limited overs cricket in the first-class game gradually led to the phasing out of time cricket in friendly games and the elimination of the draw in such games. Exactly when this happened is difficult to say precisely. For a number of years around the end of the 60s and the early 70s, it is possible that the reeording of the result may be wrong and games are shown as being drawn when in fact one team will have won and vice-versa. The Greenock Telegraph has been researched to try to get a definitive answer but in some cases there are games where the result was not stated. The scorebooks have not always been helpful either.

Sunday cricket became more and more prevalent in the 50s and early 60s but Greenock did not play official matches on this day until they entered the Scottish Cup and the DH Robins Cup in 1967. From that point onwards, all Sunday fixtures have been included in the records.

Batting on after the game has been won

One practice, which seems scarcely believable nowadays, came to an end in the late 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

Finally, TC Riddell's book 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 the practice of a club tour has died away. Many of the scores of the tours made in the 60s, 70s and 80s are no longer available but where they do exist they have been included in players' career totals.