The former Cowley St John and Oxfordshire batsman Keith Talboys has died, aged 88.

Admired by his cricketing colleagues for his wonderful technique, his former county and club captain Joe Banton reckoned that Talboys was the best locally-born batsman to play for Oxfordshire – a view shared by another contemporary, Roy Surman.

He made his debut for the county in 1948 aged only 16, setting a record as the youngest player to represent Oxfordshire which stood until 2010.

Stepping up as Colts captain, he made 257 runs in eight Minor Counties Championship matches.

This early promise was fulfilled in 1955, when he topped the county batting averages.

It included the first of his four centuries for Oxfordshire, a mammoth 183 against Devon at Torquay.

Only Jack Mendl (three times) and Rob Williams have made higher scores for the county since the Second World War.

Keith was a regular in the side for 20 years, although his appearances were always restricted by his availability.

Working at the car plant in Cowley, he only had two weeks annual holiday allowance, so he never played a full season.

Talboys played 98 championship matches for Oxfordshire in all, scoring 3,762 runs at an average of 23.96.

Oxfordshire’s all-time leading run scorer Mike Nurton recalled: “He was a genuinely modest man who one soon learned to respect.

“No doubt others will recall his attention to detail when packing his cricket bag, everything had a place and put back before he would leave the ground.

“It was similar with his batting – he was a perfectionist and stylish.

“His 180-odd against Devon at Torquay was against a good bowling attack and a demonstration of his true class.

“He was always a man to encourage others rather than think of his own contribution.”

He left a big mark at club level, too.

Rupert Evans, who played with Talboys at Cowley St John, said: “Keith was without doubt the best technical batsman of his era, hence why he was nicknamed ‘the Master’ by all his CSJ teammates.

“When he decided he was unable to continue performing at his very high standards he announced to the team ‘my eyesight and my hearing is failing so I’ll take up umpiring!’

“Keith was a great cricketer and a true gentleman, very popular with both his teammates and the opposition – RIP.”

Another former club colleague, Andrew Moss said: “Keith was truly an Oxfordshire legend of the cricket field, he gave me tremendous support when I was captain of Cowley St John 2nd XI.

“He always cleaned his bat after every innings – he told us it was so that we could not see where the ball hit the edge, but it very seldom did.

“Batting with him and watching him play a swinging new ball was a master class.”