Cricket and our club was his life, he gave everything to this club and we’ll forever begrateful to him for that.
These were the touching words of East Kilbride Cricket Club’s juniorsecretary Alan Dickie after the sad death of John Davies.
They encapsulate the dedication of John, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 79, but also the appreciation and admiration the club have for a man who gave five decades of his life to the Torrance House outfit.
After a long period of ill-health, William John Davies died at Hairmyres Hospital on Saturday, January 5, and as his funeral took place yesterday, it was clear the former club captain and founding member will never be forgotten.
Described as “a true gentleman” and “very generous”, John lived and breathed cricket and without hisinfluence, EKCC wouldn’t be theflourishing club they are today.
And as Alan Dickie revealed, John’s desire for the game was clear evenbefore he arrived in East Kilbride.
He told the News: “John obviously wanted to be involved in cricket right away because he sent a letter to the club’s inaugural meeting in late 1962 and it wasn’t until April 1963 that he arrived in East Kilbride so that shows how keen he was.
“When he did arrive there were these two guys, founding members Roland Cessford and David Mullen, waiting at the doorstep, eager for him to get involved with the club.
“And he turned out to be a real club legend.
“He never had the win-at-all-costs mentality – he always wanted to win – but he ensured we did so in the spirit of the game.
“John was a very hard-working guy at the club up until the last couple of years when his health took a turn for the worse, but cricket was his life.”
A captain for nine years, John had to give up playing in the mid-1980s when his knees gave up on him, but you name it, John did it. From umpiring,scoring and even being the groundsman, John did it all – not to mention over 20 years as secretary in which he helped the club emerge from the low point of the Glasgow leagues to the National Leagues where they play today.
Alan Scott, the club’s treasurer , gave a great example of the lengths John would go to in a bid to ensure games went ahead.
He said: “John worked forSignode, a Welsh company based in College Milton at the time.
“But their headquarters were in Swansea and I always remember how he rushed back from there one day to umpire.
“I had a phone call from John atmidday on the day of a game asking if we had a team for that night and him telling me he would still be up to umpire.
“We had a 6.30pm start and he’s in Swansea at midday .
“I hate to tell this story sometimes because he must have driven at 90mph all the way to make it here – but that was the commitment of John to the club.
“And it wasn’t like it was a big cup game, it was an evening league game of little consequence but it was his life and that’s how much we meant to him.”
It wasn’t just his dedication that earned so much admiration andrespect, his generosity was second to none. Alan Scott said: “His generosity cannot be underestimated.
“I dread to think what his phone bill must have been because he would make at least a dozen calls about cricket every day from his mobile phone and we are talking 15 years ago here. It’s a great memory I have of him – John calling round making sure we always had a team together and that ouropponents were always going to make it as well.
“He could have asked for that money back in club expenses, but he never did.
“John must have spent thousands on the club over the years on various things and he was always first up at the bar to buy a round of drinks for everyone.”
Club chairman Brian Kampmanrecalled what was a great moment for John. He said: “One of his memorable moments was when he met hisfavourite player, the former England captain MJK Smith (pictured, far left).
“He ran a hotel/cricket team facility near Birmingham and we stayed down there on tour one year and John ended up socialising with him and played cricket with his sons, who ended up going on to play for Warwickshire.
“MJK Smith was a real hero of John’s and that was a momentous tour for all of us.”
EK Cricket Club will pay special tribute to John at their awards dinner in March and also plan to name a trophy in his memory.
Having played over 400 games for the club, John’s best score was 78.
Said Alan Dickie, fondly: “His life innings of 79 was one greater than his highest score of 78 and, knowing the sense of humour John had, he would have found amusement in that.”