Tributes have been paid to Roger France, a much-respected sporting stalwart who had been involved in the Huddersfield Cricket League for an incredible 60 years.
Mr France was once described by the Huddersfield Daily Examiner as having “Huddersfield cricket imprinted through him like a stick of rock.”
A former player, Mr France was chairman of the league for a remarkable 22 years until he stepped down in 2011.
After a marathon innings as chairman he took up the role of life vice-president. He became president in 2018, a role he held until his death.
Mr France, who lived in Almondbury and was in his late 70s, ran a hardware business in Queensgate Market in Huddersfield. He had been ill for some time and died on Wednesday. He leaves a wife, Judith.
A minute’s silence will be observed before all this weekend’s matches as a mark of respect.
League chairman Trevor Atkinson led the tributes to a man who showed incredible dedication to the league.
“Roger was a player and then an administrator and his involvement with the Huddersfield League covers 60 years. That is a long and dedicated commitment,” said Mr Atkinson.
“Roger was a proud, direct, no-nonsense Yorkshireman. He was very much a cricket traditionalist and was probably conservative in all his views on life.
“For 22 years as chairman he was at the heart of everything. He always thought the chairman should be aware of every small detail.”
Mr France played with Lockwood and Elland before retiring from the Huddersfield League in 1981 though he played on for three seasons with Old Almondburians in Huddersfield Central League.
Having served both Lockwood and Elland as the league representative, he was later elected onto the management committee and then took over the chairmanship from Raymond Smith at the annual meeting in 1989.
Mr France started playing in the Huddersfield League with Lockwood in around 1964. His highlights were appearances in the Sykes Cup Final against Kirkheaton in 1973 and also captaining the second team to two Paddock Shield finals.
From there Mr France moved to Elland where he finally secured some silverware skippering the Hullen Edge second team to the League and Paddock Shield double in 1979.
It was as a leader and an administrator that Mr France excelled and a minute’s silence was observed at the league’s executive committee meeting on Wednesday night, the first in-person meeting since the start of the pandemic.
For a time when he was chairman Mr France also reported on league matches for BBC Radio Leeds.
In 2013 Mr France was presented with an award for Outstanding Service to Cricket by the Yorkshire Cricket Board.