Wisden Cricketers' Almanack 2008

Obituaries index: T-Z

Cricinfo staff

TACEY, STANLEY WILLIAM, died on December 24, 2007, aged 87, a week after his wife Eileen. A former printer, and a prolific club wicket-taker, Stan Tacey was Derbyshire's scorer from 1984 to 2000 and edited their yearbook. He was also chairman, and later president, of the Derbyshire Supporters' Club, an important fund-raiser for an often impecunious county. Wisden's Derbyshire correspondent Gerald Mortimer said: "It was to the great benefit of the club that he resolutely refrained from gossiping about things he had heard in the dressingroom. With Stan, it always stayed in-house."

THOMPSON, ALEXANDER WILLIAM, died on January 13, 2001, aged 84. Alec Thompson was an unsung member of the famous Middlesex team that won the Championship in 1947, the golden summer of Denis Compton and Bill Edrich. Thompson, like Compton a product of the Lord's groundstaff, played four matches in 1939, and became a regular after the war, scoring 100 not out - his maiden century - to spirit Middlesex to a four-wicket win over Surrey at The Oval in 1946 after they were set 318 in 215 minutes (still time for 64.3 overs). Compton wrote: "One of his specialities was a cover-drive that ripped the ball to the boundary at an amazing pace." Thompson missed only six matches as the Championship was won the following year, passing 1,000 runs despite not managing a century. He wasn't helped by Compo's legendary bad calling: "Denis did him five times in one season," claimed his team-mate Jack Robertson. "Being a junior member of the side, Alec never argued over the wisdom of the call, but simply went." Despite that, Thompson still managed more than 700 runs every season but one from 1946 to 1954, with five centuries in all. Form deserted him in 1955, his benefit year: he managed only 166 runs from 17 innings, and never played again. He flirted with umpiring, but eventually moved to the United States. His death, in Illinois, went unnoticed by the cricket fraternity for almost six years.

WATT, DONALD, who died on May 20, 2007, aged 87, was an ebullient Queensland all-rounder before and after the war. He played 13 matches for the state as a punishing batsman who bowled expansive leg-breaks. His peripatetic work as a welder and boilermaker took him to far-flung parts of the state, and he represented Queensland Country against four different touring teams. On the last of these occasions, against MCC at Rockhampton in 1954-55, his five for 56 included the wickets of Hutton, May and Graveney; some of the visitors nominated him as the best leg-spinner they encountered on tour.

WATTS, Sir ARTHUR DESMOND, KCMG, QC, who died on November 16, 2007, aged 76, had a distinguished career as a barrister and diplomat. He ended his career combining both roles as Legal Adviser to the Foreign Office. Watts was also a keen cricketer, playing for Shropshire in his younger days. In January 1985, while leading the UK delegation at meetings about mineral rights in Antarctica, he enlivened proceedings by arranging what is believed to be the most southerly cricket match ever played, on the Bowden névé about 400 miles from the South Pole. In temperatures of -14°C (7°F) Watts captained the Beardmore Casuals, comprising largely Britons, against the Gondwanaland Occasionals, made up of players from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The pitch had been rolled by a Hercules transport plane ("probably the heaviest roller ever used", wrote Sir Arthur) and the bails were cans of beer balanced on a board. "The 'midnight sun' allowed play to continue until 11 p.m.," Wisden reported. "The Occasionals (129) beat the Casuals (102) by 27 runs."

WILLIAMS, GWYNFOR LLOYD, died in July 2007, aged 82. Lloyd Williams played three matches for Somerset, all of them on a dubious pitch at Westonsuper- Mare in little more than a week in August 1955: he managed only 30 runs in six attempts, but was a prolific scorer at club level, for Bath and the Somerset Stragglers. Williams, who taught at Millfield, was a talented all-round sportsman: he also played squash for Somerset, and won a half-Blue for table tennis while at Oxford.

WONG, MERVYN, died on November 21, 2007, aged 75. Trinidadian "Pee Wee" Wong was one of the Caribbean's leading scorers and statisticians, and co-produced a book of West Indian cricket scores and records in 1990. He married the daughter of Ellis "Puss" Achong, the West Indian unorthodox left-arm spinner of eastern descent who is credited with inspiring the term "chinaman": in the English definition (though not the Australian), the ball which turns into the right-hander.

WOODROFFE, JOHN, drowned in Barbados on March 7, 2007, less than three hours after arriving for a holiday from his home in Canada. He was 42, and the eldest son of the former West Indian fast bowler Wes Hall, who had picked him up from the airport that day.

WOOLDRIDGE, IAN EDMUND, OBE, who died on March 4, 2007, aged 75, was one of the great sports writers of the modern era. For 47 years, he wrote for the Daily Mail and, indeed, almost embodied it. Wooldridge was a skilled storygetter with a sense of style on the page and in life. He was helped by first-class travel (always) and first-class contacts, burnished by his second marriage to Sarah, PA to the sports entrepreneur Mark McCormack. Wooldridge made his name through cricket. In 1962 he supplanted the long-standing Mail cricket correspondent Alex Bannister, and was sent to Australia to give the paper's Ashes coverage a bit of pizzazz. Bannister won the job back when Wooldridge was promoted to columnist. Cricket was Wooldridge's first love and, throughout his career, the game produced some of his most lyrical columns, and imaginative stunts. At the Sydney Test of 1994-95, anxious to persuade Shane Warne to do an interview, he went out and bought the biggest trophy he could find, and had it engraved as the entirely spurious "Daily Mail Award for Excellence in Sport". He presented it to a proud Warne, who then happily talked for ages. Wooldridge had played for Hampshire Schoolboys, claiming that the leg-spinner Tom Dean had ended his hopes of a county career when the boys met the Second Eleven. He ran into Dean years later and thanked him: "If I'd been able to pick your googly, I'd now be a 50-year-old ex-pro running a crumbling pub."

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