TRIBUTES have been paid to former Oxfordshire and Bicester scorer Rod Clarke, who has died at the age of 74.

Known throughout the local cricket scene as ‘Nobby’, he died at his home in Bernwood Road, Bicester, after a long illness.

The pinnacle of his more than 30 years scoring, which included stints with Bicester & North Oxford and Banbury clubs, came when he officiated in the Lord’s Test match between England and Pakistan in 2006.

The tourists did not have a scorer, so the English Cricket Board decided to give some leading Minor Counties officials a chance to score in a Test match.

“I had an amazing time,” he said at the time.

“Scoring in front of 32,000 was quite something and I really enjoyed mixing with the players.

“I got to meet a few personalities like Bill Frindall, David Shepherd and Dickie Bird, my umpiring hero.”

His son Andrew said: “Dad was was a very private man and did not blow his own trumpet, but I know he was very proud to have scored at Lord’s.

“The family were very proud of him as well.”

Mr Clarke started scoring for his home club Bicester before moving to Banbury in 2006, succeeding Keith Brighton for both club and the county, and drew high praise.

Chris Clements, the Oxfordshire Cricket Board chairman said: “Nobby was not only an excellent scorer, but he was also brilliant at helping other scorers.

“He was those people essential to the fabric of the game. It’s a sad loss for cricket.”

Former county secretary Peter O’Neill said: “He was unobtrusive unless you happened to invade his space at a crucial time, when you could get a ticking-off. He was very reliable.”

Ill-health led to him giving up scoring regularly two years ago.

A former railwayman, who worked at Bicester North station, Mr Clarke leaves a widow Joy, two sons and a daughter.

His funeral will be held at Banbury Crematorium on Friday, September 8 at 1pm.