Obituaries index: P-S

A-E - F-J - K-O - P-S - T-Z

Paton, Eris A., who died on November 23, 2004, aged 76, was an all-rounder from Otago who played four women's Tests for New Zealand between 1954 and 1960-61. She made an undefeated 77 out of 130 (the next-highest score was 14) against England at Auckland in 1957-58, and had match figures of six for 55 in her last match, against Australia at Dunedin.

Petrie, Eric Charlton, who died on August 14, 2004, aged 77, was an unfussy wicket-keeper with soft hands, and one of the few successes of New Zealand's 1958 tour of England. This was when a largely untried side was outclassed - only rain in the final Test prevented a 5-0 whitewash. But Petrie was unfailingly enthusiastic, and his contribution was acknowledged when he was selected for the Gentlemen against the Players at Scarborough that September, a very rare honour for a touring player. It was somehow appropriate: fellow-player Roger Harris remembered him as "in my time, the great gentleman of New Zealand cricket". Petrie came from Waikato, outside the mainstream of New Zealand cricket at the time, which contributed to his late start. As early as 1949 he had made 138 in a trial match before the tour of England, but did not make his first-class debut for another two seasons, when he was nearly 24. He played for Auckland, captaining them in 1954-55, before moving back home to Northern Districts when they gained first-class status in 1956-57. One of his happiest moments was taking part in their first Plunket Shield title, in 1962-63. He toured India and Pakistan in 1955-56, sharing the gloves in the eight Tests played with Wellington's Trevor McMahon. After that season New Zealand had no Test cricket for more than two years, which may account for some of the zanier selections for the 1958 England tour. Petrie was the cheerleader, and his team-mate Bert Sutcliffe described him as "a superb wicket-keeper, regarded by English critics as perhaps the best in the land that summer". Petrie played both Tests against England at home that winter, and was then overlooked for seven years, before returning for the home series against England in 1965-66, his penultimate season, when he scored his only fifty in 14 Tests. The competition for club sides in Northern Districts is named after him.

Pretzlik, Nicholas Charles, died suddenly on July 11, 2004, aged 58. Nick Pretzlik was in the Eton XI for three years and played an outstanding innings for Public Schools against Combined Services at Lord's in 1963 when he made an unbeaten 90 at almost a run a minute. "He reminded me of Colin Ingleby- Mackenzie," recalled Richard Gilliat, his captain in that match. "Played for fun and hit the ball like stink." Pretzlik became a protégé of E. W. Swanton, who recruited him for his wandering club, the Arabs, and hoped he would become a fine county cricketer. Pretzlik indeed devoted himself to the Arabs, but not in the way Swanton intended. He gave up cricket, reputedly after his kit was stolen from the back of his Jaguar and he never bothered to replace it. After working in the family business he became engrossed by the plight of the Palestinians and, turning away from his reputation as a boulevardier, became a vocal activist on their behalf in the 1990s. He wrote passionate articles for political websites and regularly interceded with the Israeli authorities on behalf of refugees. He died when training for a London-Jerusalem cycle ride for peace.

Radford, Robert Michael AM, died on February 28, 2004, aged 60. Bob Radford was one of cricket's most remarkable and original administrators, described by Don Bradman as the best in Australia - before lunch. Radford became secretary of the New South Wales Cricket Association in 1976 and ruled the game there in individualistic style for the next 19 years. He was an enthusiastic networker and was particularly successful at linking the game to the community at large, as well as insisting on sentimental touches: thanks to him, New South Wales now keep in touch assiduously with former players. But his successes were often overshadowed by his self-destructive lifestyle. The near-vegan Greg Chappell remonstrated with him and warned him he would not reach 60 unless he changed. This turned into a bet, and when Radford made it - just - Chappell was forced to eat a huge steak. "Radford was an outstanding administrator - sharp, efficient, decisive - who also possessed a deep love for the game and its history," wrote Philip Derriman in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Reid, Seymour Charlton, died on January 13, 2004, aged 89. "Sibby" Reid played five matches for Border in the first two seasons after the Second World War, scoring only 93 runs in ten innings. His career included the famous match at East London when Border, chasing just 42 to win after bowling Eastern Province out for 52, were shot out for 34 themselves. Reid, as opener, scored one. His older brother, Bernard, also represented Border.

Ricketts, Michael Rodney, who died on November 21, 2004, aged 81, was a batsman who played one first-class game for Free Foresters against Oxford in 1948 and scored a solitary run. He played eight seasons for Suffolk.

Robins, Derrick Harold, who died on May 1, 2004, aged 89, was a wicketkeeper who played just two first-class matches for Warwickshire in 1947, but then became a successful businessman and one of the game's most significant patrons. Starting with a cement-mixer in a field, he turned his firm Banbury Buildings into a major public company. In 1960, he became chairman of Coventry City FC and hired Jimmy Hill as manager, and their combined acumen and innovative drive made a failing club into one that stayed in the top division for 34 successive seasons and became a model for progressive thinking. Cricket was a harder game in which to find room for a man of Robins's determination, though he did take charge of the Eastbourne Festival, first organising the matches played by Colonel L. C. Stevens's XI, then taking over the fixtures in his own right. In 1969, D. H. Robins's XI played the opening match against the West Indian tourists with Robins as captain of a team containing eight Test players; he was then 54 and it had been 22 years since his last first-class match. He captained another star-studded team against the Indians in 1971, when he was already 57. (No one older has appeared in a first-class match in England since the war; his nearest rival R. E. S. Wyatt was 56 when he turned out for Free Foresters in 1957.) But the following year he had six heart attacks in a week - he was not a man to do things by halves - which put paid to his cricket, his chairmanship of Coventry, and his business career. The South African administrator Jack Cheetham, however, asked him to start organising tours to South Africa. The four Robins teams, in successive seasons from 1972-73, were early busters of the anti-apartheid boycott and included many of the era's leading players. Robins insisted that the parties were multi-racial (John Shepherd of Kent was on the middle two trips) and shrugged off the political flak, organising trips elsewhere in the cricketing world as well. But the South African link was strongest, and he made his winter home there from 1975 onwards. Some players found the Robins style a little overbearing; most enjoyed the ride. He continued to organise golf tours long afterwards, involving many of the players from those 1970s trips. The Robins's XI maintained its own arcane rituals and joky hierarchy, with such positions as Keeper of the Chair (Robins himself), Senior Keeper (Peter Parfitt), Keeper of the Peace and - most intriguingly - Keeper of the Liaison.

Saleem Akhtar, the father of the Pakistan Test cricketers Wasim and Ramiz Raja, died on April 22, 2004. He was 73. Saleem Akhtar was a leg-spinner who captained Multan and Sargodha, taking five for 34 for Sargodha against Peshawar in 1961-62. Another son, Zaeem, also played first-class cricket.

Samarasinghe, Thammehetti Mudalige, died on June 4, 2004, aged 61. T. M. Samarasinghe umpired seven Tests and 14 one-day internationals in Sri Lanka in the 1990s. His health problems (which culminated in a fatal third heart attack) started when he suffered a slight stroke during a match in 1994 - the players noticed something was wrong when he tried to stand at the bowler's end for successive overs.

Saulez, Geoffrey Gordon Alfred, who died on December 23, 2004, aged 88, was the England scorer on a succession of tours from the 1970s to the mid-1980s. Saulez was chosen partly because he did the job very efficiently, and partly because he was a retired accountant, a bachelor and a cricket obsessive who was happy to do the job on an amateur basis. He also scored for Sussex and, briefly, Surrey. Saulez maintained a file with about 40,000 index cards showing career records of players from round the world; this was an invaluable resource for statisticians until it was superseded by the computerised records of CricketArchive. He took special delight in finding obscure errors in past scorecards. Somewhat dishevelled in his appearance but meticulous in his statistics, he had been a good enough player to open the batting with Reg Simpson in a wartime tournament in Lahore. He was disappointed when his fellow-statisticians decided it did not warrant first-class status.

Shuttleworth, Norman, who died on June 18, 2004, aged 94, was a Yorkshire businessman who became chairman of one of the famous Leeds menswear stores: J Hepworth & Son, which grew into a chain of 350 shops. He was also a useful all-rounder, who captained the Leeds club after the war and later became chairman of Leeds CF&A, owners of Headingley. He worked hard to preserve the ground as a viable Test venue, and is credited with introducing bucket seats, at a time when Lord's still made spectators sit on benches, and the novel (if not always reliable) Mark 1 electronic scoreboard. He was also briefly a crucial figure in Yorkshire administration, when the club was in meltdown over the future of Geoff Boycott. He was obliged to chair the 1984 annual meeting, and held together the warring factions. "Without his sure touch," according to Yorkshire journalist John Callaghan, "a sad situation may well have declined into disaster."

Smith, Donald James, who died on December 3, 2004, aged 75, was a leftarm swing bowler who gave up his job as a bank clerk to play for Lancashire. But after his debut against the 1951 South Africans, he was picked only twice more and retreated to the leagues and Cheshire, alongside his brother Colin, who also played for Lancashire. Smith became a successful businessman, and eventually bought as his home the large double-fronted bank where he first worked.

Smith, Michael John, died after a heart attack on November 12, 2004, aged 62. Mike Smith of Middlesex was a popular and respected county pro who has two footnotes in cricket history: he was the first man to appear for England in one-day internationals without playing a Test match; later he became the last (perhaps for all time) of the distinguished line of ex-pros who moved from the dressing-room to the scorers' box. Smith first played for Middlesex as a 17-yearold slow left-arm bowler. His bowling never developed, but ten years later he finally established himself as Eric Russell's opening partner and was a fixture at the top of the Middlesex order throughout the 1970s. By 1972 he was rated highly enough to be chosen in the England 13 for the Headingley Test, and narrowly missed selection for the 1973-74 West Indies tour. Those calls never came, but in 1973 he did play against West Indies in the first two of his five one-day internationals. The concept of a one-day specialist was unknown, but Middlesex already recognised that he was ideally equipped for the game. Even in three-day cricket he would often get them off to a tearaway start. "He would get a good audience of fellow players out on the balcony when he batted," said Mike Brearley. "Something interesting was always likely to happen." But, though Smith scored 37 centuries for Middlesex, a figure beaten by only ten players, his career average was a mere 31, and some felt he stuck over-rigidly to a flawed technique that did insufficient justice to his talent. This involved shuffling across the stumps and hitting almost everything square of the wicket. "It's done me all right," he would say when challenged. After retirement, he started a business selling Swedish Army thermal underwear but sold up and in 1994 replaced Harry Sharp as the Middlesex scorer. This was the year after computerised scoring was introduced, and Sharp had seen the writing on the screen and retired. It was an unfamiliar discipline for Smith too. "He struggled at first," said one colleague, Tony Kingston of Northamptonshire, "but Mike was such a lovely bloke that everyone helped him out."

Sokell, Jack MBE, who died on April 2, aged 77, was for many years the secretary of the Wombwell Cricket-Lovers' Society, which he and a group of friends founded in 1951. Sokell, a Barnsley journalist who covered cricket and football for the South Yorkshire Times and was on the Yorkshire committee from 1974 to 2002, publicised the society well, and its various awards received widespread coverage. It also ran coaching classes, attended over the years by several future Yorkshire and England players. Michael Parkinson wrote in his tribute in the society's magazine The Twelfth Man: "To say Jack loved cricket was a bit like saying Romeo fancied Juliet. It misses the point. Jack's passion was allconsuming and all-embracing. If they don't play cricket in heaven there is going to be an unholy row." Another Barnsley man, Dickie Bird, said that Sokell built Wombwell "into the finest cricket society in the world".

Steel, Sir David Edward Charles DSO, MC, TD, who died on August 9, 2004, aged 87, was chairman of BP from 1975 to 1981. At Rugby School, he was captain of cricket and in 1933 shared a century opening stand in each innings against Marlborough at Lord's.

Sturgess, Eric William, who died on January 14, 2004, aged 83, appeared in two wartime first-class matches in South Africa in 1942-43. In the first, playing for the Air Force under Walter Hammond's captaincy, he scored 0 and 45 and, opening the bowling, took three wickets in each innings. In the second game, for the Rest of South Africa under the national captain Alan Melville, he made 43 from No. 8 and dismissed the Test players Eric Rowan and Ossie Dawson. Shortly afterwards his Spitfire was shot down near Boulogne, and he spent the rest of the war as a prisoner in the notorious Stalag Luft III camp. When peace broke out, cricket was supplanted by tennis. Sturgess, an elegant baseliner with solid groundstrokes but a modest serve, won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 1949 with his fellow South African Shirley Summers, and retained the title the following year, partnering the great American Louise Brough. He won four other major doubles titles, and reached the singles final in Paris twice and New York (where he lost to Pancho Gonzales in 1948) once. At the British Hard Court Championships in Bournemouth in 1949, he won five matches and three titles in a day.

Symons, Ruth (later Mrs Ruth Martin), died on September 11, 2004, aged 90. She was New Zealand's first captain in a women's Test, leading them against England in her home town of Christchurch in 1934-35. It was a terrible start. New Zealand were bowled out on the first morning for 44 (Symons resisted for more than 50 minutes for her five). They lost by an innings and 337. It was Symons's only Test appearance, although she did tour New South Wales three years later under the captaincy of Ina Lamason. New Zealand Cricket's annual batting award, the Ruth Martin Trophy, is named after her.

© John Wisden & Co