Former Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club star John Birch appears in court on drugs charges

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One of the leading personalities in Hucknall sport has appeared in court on a drugs charge.

Ex-professional cricketer John Birch (59) is a former manager of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club.

He is currently the chairman of Hucknall-based club, Rolls-Royce Leisure, who play in the elite Notts Premier League.

But at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Thursday morning last week, Birch faced a charge of producing 36 plants of cannabis, a Class B drug, at a site in Eastwood on Wednesday 16th April.

He is also charged with dishonestly causing to be wasted or diverting a quantity of electricity to the value of £703 on the same date, also at Eastwood.

Birch, of Commonside, Selston, was represented in court one by defence solicitor, Lauren Manuel.

He did not enter a plea to the charges. Instead the case was adjourned and sent to be heard at Nottingham Crown Court, where Birch will make his first appearance on Wednesday 10th September. He was granted unconditional bail.

Birch spent 19 seasons at Trent Bridge, including 16 as a first-team player between 1973 and 1988.

In 250 first-class matches for Notts, he scored more than 8,600 runs, averaging almost 28, and took 50 wickets.

He also played 234 one-day games, scoring more than 3,700 runs and taking 35 wickets.

In 1987, Birch helped Notts win the County Championship/NatWest Trophy double, playing alongside stars such as Richard Hadlee, Clive Rice and Derek Randall.

When his playing days ended a year later, he took over as Notts manager and led the side to the old Sunday League title in 1991 before resigning in 1992.

Birch then took over as chief coach at Papplewick and Linby, playing a significant role in transforming the club from a humble village outfit into one of the top clubs in the county. In six seasons in the 1990s, he guided Papplewick to 15 honours and inspired a revolutionary youth policy.

Birch returned to the Dispatch district in 2011 when he assumed control of Rolls. Again, he resurrected their fortunes, building a new team and rapidly overseeing promotion from the Gunn And Moore South Notts League (as 2012 champions)..

Rolls finished runners-up in their debut season in the NPL last year, under the captaincy of Birch’s 33-year-old son, ex-Derbyshire CCC batsman Dan Birch.

Birch snr’s achievements led to his appointment as the new director of cricket at Rolls-Royce’s sites at both Hucknall and Derby.

This season has been less successful and has also been marred by controversy after the Hucknall-based NPL side switched their home ground from the Rolls Leisure Club on Watnall Road to the Rolls site at Derby.