The death of Trevor Bailey has been followed by heartfelt tributes from various parts of the world. His deeds at Test level have been well documented but they form only a small part of his sporting prowess, which also saw him make a marked impression on the football pitch.
Not only did he appear for Walthamstow Avenue when they won the FA Amateur Cup in 1952 but he was also a member of the side when they held mighty Manchester United to a draw in the fourth round of the FA Cup. He later became a director of Southend United Football Club.
But it was as a cricketer that Essex owe Cambridge University-educated Bailey a great debt of gratitude. In three successive years from 1960 he achieved the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in a season and, during a career spanning 23 years from 1946, he scored 21,460 runs, including 22 centuries in 482 matches at county level, and collected 1,593 wickets.
On 91 occasions he took five wickets in an innings and in 1949 he returned figures of 10 for 90 in an innings against Lancashire and still finished on the losing side. He also performed the hat-trick against Glamorgan at Newport a year later but once more was unable to save his side from defeat.
But while his performances on the field are the stuff of legends, some of his greatest contributions for his beloved Essex stemmed from his efforts off it. While still a player he filled the role of county secretary from 1955 to 1965 and was responsible for borrowing £10,000 from Warwickshire to purchase the county’s Chelmsford headquarters.
It was also Bailey who discovered Keith Boyce while on a trip to the West Indies, an all-rounder who was to play such an influential part in Essex’s progress towards becoming a dynamic force in the domestic game.
He also organised several courses for players and coaches and was a founder member of Ilford Cricket School from which many top players have emerged. His services to cricket were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 1994 with the award of the CBE and after his playing career he carved out a successful career in journalism.
He was both cricket and soccer correspondent for over 20 years with the Financial Times, as well as penning regular articles for the Daily Telegraph and The Cricketer. His vast knowledge and attention to detail also made him a valuable member of the BBC’s Test Match Special team where his forthright views and analysis earned him enormous respect.
Deep into middle age he could be found playing for Westcliff, where he lived all his life, deriving greater satisfaction of encouraging those around him rather than trying to act the big fish in a small pond. A fierce competitor on the field of play, he imparted a tremendous generosity of spirit off it.
He lived life to the full, was a devoted family man and his dry wit and fund of stories made him a great companion and a much-sought after-dinner speaker. Indeed, he was the face of Essex cricket and his legacy will never be forgotten.