Former Yorkshire and England batter, Doug Padgett, who was employed by the county club throughout his working life, died on January 20, aged 89.
Born in Bradford on July 30, 1934, Doug was brought up in Idle. He became Yorkshire’s youngest player when he made his first-class debut in 1951 at the age of 16 years and 321 days, and he remained the youngest until Paul Jarvis’s debut in 1981, aged 16 years and 75 days.
Doug went on to play in 487 first-class matches for Yorkshire before retiring at the end of the 1971 season when he was not retained, despite captain Geoffrey Boycott urging the committee to keep him on because of his experience and the strength he could still bring to the batting.
By that time he had scored 20,306 first-class runs for Yorkshire with 29 centuries and a top score 161 not out against Oxford University in The Parks in 1959.
His close association with Yorkshire was still far from over because he went on to captain the Second XI with distinction and was appointed club coach, a position he held until his retirement.
Doug was a “players’ player”, admired for his exemplary technique and sheer love of the game. He was not a cricketer who yearned for the bright lights on away trips and was never happier than upon settling in the bar on a night to discuss cricket and tactics.
Doug played in two home Test matches for England against South Africa in 1960 with only moderate success but many felt that a player of his class was deserving of more chances.
He also toured New Zealand with the MCC in 1960-61 on the first tour by aeroplane but he was not selected for the Test series.
Doug will best be remembered for the outstanding part he played in Yorkshire’s Championship-winning days which began in the late 1950s and continued well into the 60s by which time they had clinched the title on seven occasions.
And it was he and fellow batter, Bryan Stott, who got the ball rolling with their magnificent stand of 141 in the second innings against Sussex at Hove in 1959 which brought the first of these Championship successes.
It was Doug during his time as Yorkshire coach, who first spotted the potential of Michael Vaughan.
Doug was on the balcony at Abbeydale Park, Sheffield, during the tea interval of a Yorkshire match when he spotted the schoolboy batting on the outfield.
He made enquiries and as a result Michael was signed up to join the Yorkshire Academy to become the first player in recent times to be signed by Yorkshire who had not been born inside the county.
Vaughan was amongst those who paid tribute when the club announced Doug’s death yesterday, him writing on social media platform X: “RIP Doug…I will be forever grateful for the knowledge you passed onto me. Such a great character who adored Yorkshire Cricket.”
Many others responded. Darren Lehmann, for example, said: “RIP. A legend of a man and a gentleman of the game. Thanks for everything you did for me, Doug. Our thoughts are with the family at this time.”
Kevin Sharp and Ryan Sidebottom were amongst the other former Yorkshire players who paid tribute, while former Lancashire and England batter David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd said: “An absolute champion…Yorkshire through and through.”
The funeral service of Doug Padgett will take place at All Saints Church, Bingley, on February 19 at 2pm.
Words: David Warner.