Derek Hodgson, writer and Yorkshire cricket historian

Derek Hodgson
Derek Hodgson
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The journalist and author Derek Hodgson, who has died at 87, literally wrote the book on cricket in Yorkshire.

Mr Hodgson, who was born in Morley, near Leeds, was responsible for the Carnegie Official History of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

He was also editor of the county club’s yearbook from 1989-2008, during which time he enhanced its reputation as the best of its kind in the country.

He was the northern cricket correspondent for the Daily Express and later The Independent, which he served until his retirement, contributing prose with a languid style which he also brought to his soccer reports. Later, he co-wrote with Stephen Chalke a biography of the great Yorkshire and England bowler, Bob Appleyard.

He covered England both at home and on several Test tours, but he was equally as happy reporting on county cricket, particularly when Yorkshire was involved.

David Warner, the current editor of the Yorkshire yearbook, said he had been held in affectionate regard by everyone who worked with him.

Mr Warner said: “He was one of the old school that enjoyed cricket and the writing of the game in equal measure.

“He was a man who truly loved the game and he wrote about it in a gentle and informative way which endeared him to his readers.”

David Llewellyn, who worked with Mr Hodgson at The Independent, recalled meetings with him in the press boxes of cricket grounds around the country.

“He was a fund of great tales of cricket and cricketers and shamefully I would occasionally even wish for rain when he appeared in a box,” Mr Llewellyn said.

“He was one of the calmest of reporters, never phased by a late flurry of wickets or a last ball winning boundary. He passed on a great deal of advice to me, not least on how to approach working for the broadsheets.”

Mr Hodgson had been especially proud of his editorship of the Yorkshire yearbook, Mr Llewellyn added. “I remember reviewing it for the Indy, along with the then other 16 counties’ efforts, and they all paled into insignificance when compared with this stunning tome, which was so lovingly and carefully put together. It was a fabulous vade mecum, and I am sure still is.”

Brian Scovell, a former chairman of the Cricket Writers’ Club, of which Mr Hodgson was a past president, said he had passed on “the right values in sport and its reporting”.

“A very inspirational, thoroughly decent family man who always had an encouraging word for people, accompanied with a good laugh,” Mr Scovell said.

Mr Hodgson, who lived latterly at Great Warford, Cheshire, is survived by his widow, Doreen, two sons, Guy and Myles, and a daughter, Judith.