Saturday, October 1st, 2022


John Curtis is way ahead in the averages when it comes to the number of words he writes about Worcestershire County Cricket Club.

Day after day, he piles up the prose to give members and supporters all the latest news and views from New Road.

But last night, he was uncharacteristically lost for words when presented with the David Exall Award for his outstanding contribution to Worcestershire.

John had no idea he was going to receive the prestigious honour at the club’s End of Season Gala Dinner – and it couldn’t have gone to a more worthy winner.

Worcestershire’s excellent, wide-ranging website is bulging with his up-to-date reports on all levels of cricket at New Road, where he’s been a regular visitor since childhood.

As a cricket-mad youngster, he was the first to become a Black Pears junior member and even operated the old scoreboard back in the sixties before eventually going on to become a top sports reporter for the Press Association.

After starting off in journalism on local weekly newspapers, John, known affectionately as JC, switched to the then Worcester Evening News, where part of his many and varied sports desk duties included covering Worcester City Football Club.

His next move, however, gave him the perfect launchpad for a memorable career.

He was recruited by one of the country’s leading freelance sports journalists Mike Beddow, who covered Worcestershire CCC for an incredible 50 years.

John’s regular role was to supply football match reports from Villa Park and St Andrew’s as well as cricket coverage from Edgbaston and his favourite ground – New Road.

Along with Mike, he also helped compile much of the editorial content for football programmes at clubs up and down the land, including Aston Villa, Manchester City, Everton and Leeds United.

“No one is more deserving of this recognition by Worcestershire,” says Mike. He first met John when the young JC was a Saturday copy boy collecting Worcester Evening News sports editor Jack Godfrey’s match reports from New Road for the Green ’Un.

In 1989 Mike wanted more help with his ever-expanding freelance business – and hard-working John fitted the bill perfectly.

Then, in 1994, JC’s excellent coverage of Brian Lara’s world record score of 501 not out for Warwickshire impressed the Press Association’s sports editor so much that he later offered him a permanent position, reporting on domestic football and, in particular, England’s matches at home and abroad.

It led to trips to World Cups, starting from 1998 in France, while cricket reporting was also on his busy agenda, covering various Tests and tournaments with England.

John Curtis, Dave Bradley, Mike Beddow & Chris Oldnall

Since leaving the PA, John has coupled his devoted work for Worcestershire with covering matches for the ECB Reporters’ Network as well as reporting on football for a national newspaper.

Says Mike: “In many ways, John grew up with his career. When he joined my team, he knew little of life outside his native county. On one of his early missions at Birmingham City, he had to call me late in the evening, asking for directions back to Worcester. Within a few years, he would be travelling the globe.

“Subjects of his interviews, which are always to the point, often became friends. When John was unwell a few years back, a leading football manager rang to wish him well. Not from his armchair but from the tunnel at Wembley where his team had played in the FA Cup final.

“That says everything about JC. A reporter who cares about people as much as they admire him and his work. Well done, JC, for this award.”

But that’s not all when it comes to JC and Worcestershire cricket . . . 

He’s also vice-chair of Worcestershire Cricket Society, whose members are kept up to date with all the latest information in his regular in-depth newsletters, and a leading light for Worcestershire Supporters’ Association for many years, currently their secretary.

Written by sports reporter Chris Oldnall who has shared a press box with John for many years at New Road and further afield..