Veteran cricketer shares tales from the pitch in fascinating new book

Derek Godfrey, from Holt, who has written a new book, The Second Youngest Wicket-Taker for Norfolk Cricket Club.

Derek Godfrey, from Holt, who has written a new book, The Second Youngest Wicket-Taker for Norfolk Cricket Club. - Credit: Supplied by Derek Godfrey

More than six decades after he claimed the honour, Derek Godfrey still has the title of "Norfolk's youngest wicket taker" - almost.

Mr Godfrey's great-nephew, Ben Panter, was chosen to play for Norfolk against Nottingham Second XI and overtook his relative in 2020 when he was a year younger at age 15.

It meant Mr Godfrey had to change the name of the book he was working on, but he is nonetheless delighted the title is still in the family.

An image from Derek Godfrey's new book showing Horsford Cricket Club, around 1949.

An image from Derek Godfrey's new book showing Horsford Cricket Club, around 1949. Mr Godfrey, aged about seven, is standing at the front and his father is sixth from left in the back row and his grandfather is ninth in the back row. - Credit: Supplied by Derek Godfrey

And now the 80-year-old from Holt is also pleased to see his work - called The Second Youngest Wicket-Taker for Norfolk Cricket Club - come to fruition. 

He said: "In the initial stages of lockdown my wife said 'why don't you write a book' and it just grew from there.

"My grandfather played cricket until he was 65 - he played for Horsford when we moved down from Hertfordshire.

Derek Godfrey, from Holt, who has written a new book, The Second Youngest Wicket-Taker for Norfolk Cricket Club.

Derek Godfrey, from Holt, who has written a new book, The Second Youngest Wicket-Taker for Norfolk Cricket Club. - Credit: Supplied by Derek Godfrey

"My father and grandfather were involved in setting up the Horsford Cricket Club, now the home of Norfolk Cricket Club, and I was chosen to play for county at the age of 16."

Most Read

Mr Godfrey said he hoped the book would be of interest to cricket fans everywhere. 

One of the images from Derek Godfrey's new book about his cricketing career, taken at

One of the images from Derek Godfrey's new book about his cricketing career, taken at Horsford Cricket Club around 1958. Mr Godfrey is on the extreme right in the front row. - Credit: Supplied by Derek Godfrey

He said: "The book tells my story and gives a bit of the history of Horsford Cricket Club."

Mr Godfrey was talented bowler in his younger years, but overcoaching meant he lost the ability to bowl fast, and he then played as a batsman. He said one of the highlights of his career was taking five wickets in an innings, twice, when he was 17.

He said: "In that same year I was chosen to play for England Schools, which included playing at Lords. It was wonderful to play at the same ground as many of the greats."

One of the images from Derek Godfrey's new book about his cricketing career,

One of the images from Derek Godfrey's new book about his cricketing career, taken at Lords in 1959 and showing the English Schools XI. Mr Godfrey is on the extreme left in the front row. - Credit: Supplied by Derek Godfrey

Mr Godfrey is a retired civil engineer, and his career took his family to South Africa for over seven years, where he played cricket for Griqualand West Country Districts against Namibia, which was previously called South West Africa. 

The book, which is illustrated with photos, is released on Thursday February 3 and will be available at The Holt Bookshop as well as other local stores.