Tony Pawson, who has died aged 91, was a fluent, elegant sports writer for the Observer. "Cricket, football and fishing were in my blood," he wrote in his engaging autobiography, Runs and Catches (1980). His reporting of the first two - and occasionally of developments in angling as well - drew on his experience at a high level of accomplishment.
Following demobilisation at the end of the second world war, Pawson made his debut as a right-handed batsman for the Kent first team in summer 1946 and went to Christ Church, Oxford, to study history. On his debut for the university cricket team in 1947 he made a century against Gloucestershire. That summer was his best for Kent, with 437 runs in 10 innings. By the time he retired in 1953, he had scored 3,807 runs in 69 first-class matches at an average of 37.32, with seven centuries.
Entry to the university football team did not come till 1947-48, but he appeared for the England amateur team, and in summer 1948 was a member of the Great Britain football squad for the Olympics, though did not play in a match. At the end of the year he became a member of the new Pegasus team, made up of Oxford and Cambridge blues, most of them, like him, war veterans. Pegasus instantly proved a force in the then vibrant Amateur Cup. In 1951 they reached their first final at Wembley, which was always packed for the occasion.
Their opponents were the ever-formidable north-eastern team Bishop Auckland. Pawson, who missed three rounds through injury, was fit and ebullient now, and played an effective part in Pegasus's 2-1 triumph.
In the 1952-53 season, Pegasus did it again. Before the final at Wembley against Harwich and Parkeston, Pawson was taken ill. With a temperature of 102°F, Pawson was advised not to play. Convinced that he would not be needed, he had eaten a heavy meal, but then found otherwise - and was plied at half time with brandy, whisky and champagne. Pegasus won 6-0.
The first of his two First Division appearances for Charlton Athletic had come on Boxing Day 1951, when the manager, Jimmy Seed, persuaded him to play at White Hart Lane against Tottenham. Charlton went 2-0 down, but when Pawson slipped and hopelessly mis-hit a corner, Billy Kiernan struck it home to make it 2-1; Kiernan headed the equaliser; and when Alf Ramsey, England's future World Cup-winning manager, cleared off the line, Pawson shut his eyes and drove the winner into the roof of the net.
Seed had spotted him when Charlton were training at the sports ground of Reed International Paper Group, where Pawson was working. But football wages then were so unattractive that Pawson was not drawn into the professional game and made his second and final appearance for Charlton in 1953.
Born in Chertsey, Surrey, Tony came from a family that had prospered in business in Yorkshire, though his father worked in the Sudan civil service. Attending Winchester college led to Tony's opening the innings at Lord's for a public schools under-16 team against a CF Tufnell's XI. He was lucky twice not to be out in his first over, but went on to make 237, his best-ever score and a ground record for an under-18 batsman. On his debut for Kent seconds versus Middlesex at the age of 17, he scored 123.
Volunteering for the army at the outset of war, Pawson was involved in the North African campaign and the Battle of Monte Cassino, south-east of Rome. He finished as a major with a mention in dispatches, having played in the same army team as the great Tom Finney, one of the few English football stars not co-opted by domestically based physical training units.
At Reed International, Pawson became a personnel director, and he went on to posts with the Brewers' Society and the Paper Industry Federation. His work for the Observer started in 1968: he was cricket correspondent for a decade, sometimes also reporting on football on the same day, and continued to contribute into the new century, as well as writing a number of books on sport. In May 1984 he won the world individual fly-fishing championship, and after campaigning to improve access for disabled anglers was appointed OBE in 1988.
IN MEMORIAM 2012
THE CRICKET WRITERS' CLUB
PETER BYRNE 1942-2012
By Julian Guyer
Well known in particular to Members on the southern circuit, where he provided immense help as a volunteer press-box scorer, Peter died in December after suffering a heart attack upon returning from a holiday in the United States.
Like CMJ, a vice-president of the Cricket Society, he also served that organisation as both Treasurer and a Trustee.
Of course, it was often possible to bump into both Mr and Mrs Byrne at Lord's. For many years Peter's late wife Lilian answered the MCC telephones, with her work highlighted by David Hopps in a piece he wrote for the 1995 Wisden.
Peter was a great ice hockey enthusiast, in common with his friend Norman de Mesquita, and it was quite something to see the pair of them in harness at Lord's or The Oval.
Such was the service the rest of us got, we rarely had to bother the official scorers. It always used to surprise me how Peter, a chartered accountant by profession who also scored for BBC local radio, found time to run his own business given his devotion to sport and cricket in particular.
His booming voice and forceful manner could make Peter seem a slightly intimidating figure on first acquaintance, but he was especially helpful to me when I was starting out and I know he will be much missed by many Members.