Test Match Sofa
Tony Pawson dies aged 91
By Mark Pennell
Tony Pawson - Olympian, Kent batsman, fly fishing world champion, Charlton Athletic footballer and the county’s oldest first-class cricketer - has died at the age of 91.
Chertsey-born, Tony Pawson enjoyed a remarkable life both in sport and business. Having excelled in most games in which he took an interest, he later became a personnel director with Reed International, an industrial relations adviser to the Brewers’ Society, a consultant for the Paper Industry Federation, a football and cricket writer for The Observer and chairman of The Cricket Writers’ Club in 1980 and 1981. He was appointed an OBE for his services to angling.
Born in 1921, Pawson was the star cricketer of his Winchester School side, scoring 237 for the Public Schools XI at Lord’s when aged only 15. A double blue at Oxford for cricket and football, he scored 774 in his first University season, including a career-best 150 against Worcestershire at New Road. He captained the side in his second year.
As an impish right-hander, he went on to play 43 first-class matches for Kent and scored 2,100 runs at an average of 33.33. Renowned for his back-foot shots - especially the cut and the pull - and his quick running between the wickets, he hit only two hundreds. It was a poor conversion rate considering he went past 50 on 15 occasions.
In his autobiography of 1980,
Runs & Catches
, Pawson revealed how he was pressed hard by Kent’s committee into taking over as county captain. However, his new managing director would not permit sufficient time off work and the opportunity passed him by.
Pawson was an amateur international at football and twice won the Amateur Cup with Pegasus, the Corinthian side made up from former ‘Oxbridge’ players. He played three times for Charlton as an amateur and was selected in the Great Britain squad to contest the football at the 1948 Olympics.
In 1978 he won selection to the eight-man England fly-fishing team at Chew Valley Lake near Bristol. In May 1984, at Salamanca in Spain, he became the first Englishman to win the individual World Fly Fishing crown. Landing 23 fish on the river Tomes, he took the title at the tender age of 63.
If that were not enough to cram into one lifetime, Pawson also boasted a distinguished military career. He survived active service in Italy and Tunisia with the Rifle Brigade, was mentioned in dispatches and attained the rank of major. As modest as he was slight in stature, Pawson truly was a remarkable man and a gentleman to boot.
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