Tributes for 'giant of a gentleman' who became a firm Lowerhouse Cricket Club favourite
The club announced the death of Eric Haworth yesterday, following a short but aggressive illness.
Eric was a familiar face in local cricket and rugby circles – notably with Belvedere and Calder Vale – before joining Lowerhouse circa 2002.
He quickly threw himself into the junior section; coaching and managing the junior sides that son Alex played in.
Club chairman Stan Heaton said: "Eric was very generous both financially and with his time.
"Within weeks of joining he had replaced all the club's netting, bought the club a bowling machine, serviced all the ground machinery and dedicated himself to training children beyond normal training nights with his renowned Saturday morning clubs.
"With regard to the bowling machine. The club was in a position to pay Eric back. He didn’t want the money so went straight out and bought a tractor mower for the ground.
"Not only did Eric quickly integrate into the club coaching programme, he immediately became firm friends with all he met at the club and beyond. Eric was a principled man. He gave and expected respect and always strove to be fair and do the right thing. It was no surprise therefore how popular he became.
"He was warm with his friendship and it was a pleasure to be in his company. Training sessions and matches always finished with a debrief in the bar over a couple of pints."
Eric identified younger players who would benefit most from extra tuition, and along with their parents would offer additional coaching on Saturday mornings.
These session resulted in notable improvements, and in some cases led to county recognition for the player.
He focused much of his time on the Under 9s, and in particular the Under 9B team; youngsters who were playing their first ever organised cricket matches.
Stan added: "Eric‘s generosity extended to the gift of cricket books to those who would benefit from them. He renovated bats or bought new bats for deserving cases. He would simply do whatever he saw fit for the benefit and development of those juniors playing cricket for Lowerhouse CC.
"We loved Eric’s passion but we did tease him about it. He took it in good stead and joined in the fun. At presentation night we would run a book on how soon Eric would fill up as the awards were presented.
"The under 9Bs were usually first up and I don’t think he ever got past the Eric Haworth Duckling Award for the youngest player to represent the club, before it happened.
"On those presentation nights it was heart-warming to see queues of older players, Under 13s 15s 17s who had been in past under 9s teams wanting to say hello to him. Again a mark of the respect and fondness with which Eric was held.
"The club has lost a giant who for 18 years has been a coach, a mentor, a benefactor and a godsend. We extend our deepest sympathy to Alex and his family, Anita and Diane and to all who held Eric close as the gentleman and dear friend that he was.
"Thank you Eric for all you have done for Lowerhouse Cricket club and those junior cricketers you have helped as both cricketers and people."