TRIBUTES are being paid to a former cricketer turned journalist who has died.

Ivan Johnson, who represented the county as an all-rounder in the early 1970s died this month at the age of 68.

A left-arm spinner and hard hitting batsman, Johnson played 33 first class and 38 list-a games for the county.

The Nassau-born cricketer went to Seaforth Court Prep School in Malvern as well as Malvern College, and scored 716 first class runs and picked up 37 first class wickets in his time at New Road.

He helped Worcestershire finish runners-up in the 40 over John Player League in 1972, reach the 1973 Benson and Hedges Cup final at Lord’s and win the 1974 County Championship.

Worcestershire CCC sent their condolences to his family, with former captain Norman Gifford paying his respects.

He said: “Ivan was quite a character, a good character who was good fun.

“He was very popular with all the boys and part of that squad that eventually won the County Championship and made some excellent contributions.

“But, if you asked him to look back at his career, he might say he underachieved a little with bat and ball.”

After hanging up his spikes, Johnson carved out a career in journalism, working as a sub-editor and journalist on several national newspapers and founded the Bahamian paper ‘The Punch.’

Nassau born Johnson became the first Bahamian to play first class cricket and top-scored for England Young Cricketers (Under-19s) during their 1972 tour of the West Indies with 438 runs at an average of 62.57.

A spokesman for Malvern College said: "We are saddened to hear of the passing of Ivan Johnson and recognise the contribution he made to cricket.

"Ivan had an illustrious sporting career at Malvern College, showing true talent in any sport he turned his hand to.

"He was a most valued team player and an inspiration to his peers."