A CRICKETER and longtime sports teacher at an Oxfordshire school has died aged 80.

Tony Pullinger was master of cricket and head of PE at the Dragon School in Bardwell Road, Oxford, for more than 20 years.

He was president of the Oxfordshire Cricket Association for 15 years and was later made lifetime president.

The father-of-three was a member of and played with Marylebone Cricket Club, which owns Lord’s cricket ground in north London, and a vice- president of the Oxfordshire Cricket Umpires Association.

He also played for Worcestershire and Bewdley and professionally for Kidderminster from 1961 until 1963, while working at Sebright School, in Wolverly near Kidderminster.

In Oxford, he played for the Cryptics and the Brasenose Strollers.

The county cricket association was to later recognise his huge contribution to the sport with a 20/20 trophy named after him: the Tony Pullinger Cup.

Tony Pullinger was born in London on January 26, 1934.

His mother was a chef and his father was a clerk.

He grew up in Neasden and Kilburn, first attending Kingsgate Primary School and then William Ellis School on Parliament Hill.

He left the latter in 1950 and took a ground staff job with Marylebone Cricket Club, before going to Gloucester to do national service with the RAF.

While still in Gloucester, he met and married, in January 1954, Margaret Elizabeth.

They had their first child, Keith, the following December, followed by Ann Margaret in 1959 and Sara Elizabeth in 1966.

He took a job at Worcestershire County Cricket Club the same year he married. Two years later he took a job as a PE teacher at Sebright School in the village of Wolverley.

Mr Pullinger later became a master of games, only leaving in 1970 when the school was forced to close because of financial problems.

He moved briefly to Heathfield School in the same village before taking up what was to be his final and longest post at the Dragon School in Oxford in 1972. There he was master of cricket and head of PE, a role he undertook with great passion, until he retired aged 62 in 1996.

Mr Pullinger, who lived in Cutteslowe, died on June 26 from prostate cancer, surrounded by his family. He is survived by his wife, three children and eight grandchildren.

A funeral service was held yesterday at Oxford Crematorium.

This week’s obituaries: