Basil Easterbrook's name was rarely seen on the national stage, but for those millions of readers who avidly followed football and cricket through the pages of the many publications of Kemsley and then Thomson Regional Newspapers he was the supreme authority.
He began in his native town on the Torquay Times, worked for the Sheffield Star and was then for 30 years Cricket and Football Correspondent for his newspaper chain. He did not miss a single Test match or England football match at home and carried in his head an encyclopaedic knowledge of both sports. Between 1969 and 1980 he wrote, every year, a leading article for Wisden's Almanack. He toured South Africa in 1964-5, when he was chairman of the Cricket Writers' Club.
Ordered on one occasion to spell out his words more concisely and clearly when dictating a report over the telephone he began, carefully: "This is Basil V. Easterbrook."
"What league is that?" asked the copytaker.
Like most of his generation, he was unenthusiastic about the advance of commercialism but he was once put in charge of the Press Box hospitality at Worcester by a new and happily naive sponsor. The hacks were duly impressed on the first lunchtime when a bottle of Chablis arrived at each seat. Easterbrook beamed.
The next day more wine arrived accompanied by a fly-past from the Red Arrows. Challenged to top this, on the last day, Easterbrook smiled and pointed out of the window to where, under the shadow of the cathedral, the groundsman's hut had gone up in flames.
He was a small, bright, perky man who could be waspish with fools and angered by injustice. He always had a new humorous story. We had not seen him in the box since 1983 but we still miss him. He spent his later days watching Torquay United, not always happily, but he was always keen to tell you of the latest developments with the Gulls.
Basil Vivian Easterbrook, journalist: born Torquay 15 February 1920; married (one son); died Torquay 15 December 1995.
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