Trophy-winning skipper Jim Watts added to the Northants Hall of Fame

Benson & Hedges Cup-winning skipper Jim Watts has been added to the Northamptonshire CCC Hall of Fame.

By Jeremy Casey
Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 12:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 12:26 pm
Jim Watts in action for Northants during their Benson & Hedges Cup win over Essex at Lord's in 1980
Jim Watts in action for Northants during their Benson & Hedges Cup win over Essex at Lord's in 1980

Watts turns 80 today (June 16), and the club has chosen the occasion to announce his induction as the latest of 'hall of famer'.

Watts joins fellow trophy-winning skippers Mushtaq Mohammad and Allan Lamb among those recognised for long and distinguished service to the County.

Bedfordshire-born, Watts made 523 appearances for Northants in first-class and limited-overs cricket between 1959 and 1980.

In the longer format he scored 14,411 runs, claimed 331 wickets with his medium-pace bowling and held 278 catches.

Watts represents a bridge between two of the club’s all-time batting greats, having made his first-team debut in Dennis Brookes’ final summer and then leading the side when Lamb joined the County.

After topping 1,000 first-class runs in his maiden season, Watts was a key member of the team that came within a whisker of claiming the Championship title under Keith Andrew in 1965.

But he opted to quit the professional game at the end of the following summer and didn’t return until 1970.

Quickly re-establishing himself, he succeeded Roger Prideaux as captain in 1971 and soon earned a reputation as one of the tactically shrewdest leaders on the county circuit.

His first spell in charge saw Northants return to the business end of the County Championship table (fourth, third and third again between 1972 and 1974) and in August 1972 he led the County to a first-ever victory over the Australians at the County Ground.

Watts ‘retired’ again at the end of 1974 to concentrate on his teaching career, but following the upheavals at the club three years later he came back as captain in 1978 and spent another three seasons at the helm.

In 1980 he lifted the Benson and Hedges Cup at Lord’s after victory over Essex, a fitting climax to his career which drew to a close at the end of that summer.

Watts later served on Northants' committee and was one of the former players honoured with the title of ‘Cricketer Emeritus’ in 1999.

He is a worthy addition to the Hall of Fame at the County Ground.

Watts joins fellow club legends George Thompson, Billy East, ‘Nobby’ Clark, Fred Bakewell, Brookes, Freddie Brown, Frank Tyson, Keith Andrew, Colin Milburn, David Steele, Bishan Bedi, Lamb, Ken Turner, George Tribe, Mohammad, David Capel and the Kingston family.