Tributes paid to ex-Kirkby cricket star

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A WELL-KNOWN Kirkby cricketer wrang every last drop from life before his death following a long illness, say his family.

Seventy-three-year-old Robert ‘Pat’ Oakden, a former Nottinghamshire County Cricket bowler who played against legends like Freddie Truman, died on 20th July.

Step-son Steve Salmon said Mr Oakden was a gifted sportsman whose cricket career finished early because of an Achilles tendon injury.

Said Steve: “He often said he would have possibly have gone on to play for England as a fast bowler if he hadn’t become injured.

“He has also said he could bowl faster than any of the current crop of English bowlers, and he believes cricketers back then were far better than today’s bunch.”

Having started out with Kirkby Park Cricket Club and progressing to the Notts Youth XI, Mr Oakden represented the Royal Navy during his National Service stint, playing all over the world.

For the Navy, he was stationed on the HMS Bulwark - the first ship through the Suez Canal during the Suez Crisis.

He made his Nottinghamshire debut in 1960, but had to retire two years later.

Mr Oaken later took up golf and represented his county on dozens of occasions, despite minimal practice.

He found a career in engineering and later as a financial consultant.

Mr Oakden was so proud of his cricket career, he asked to be buried in his Nottinghamshire Country Cricket blazer.

Steve said he would be greatly missed, saying: “He was a very generous man, and many people will say that he was a very loyal friend who had high moral standards.”

Mr Oakden leaves wife Eileen, as well as sons Robert, Christopher and Steve.