CUMBRIAN cricket clubs paid tribute to a pillar of their sporting community this past weekend before T20 games.

A minute’s silence was held before Cumbrian and North Lancashire based games at the weekend, marking the passing of the league’s former secretary and president Colin Bickerstaffe.

A former North Lancashire and Cumbria Cricket League secretary, Colin Bickerstaffe leaves a legacy behind having held the post for 18 years before retiring in 2015. He also served as an umpire for 42 years, officiating matches even on his 80th birthday.

Cumbrian cricket players paid tribute to Mr Bickerstaffe before the latest round of T20 matches on Saturday. The shorter games sponsored by Lukeys Sports act as a local derby with the strongest teams facing off in a Cumbrian final in September.

Under 11s coach and committee member Phil McCormick said: “He was a well liked, respected umpire and official. A great servant to the league, he was always a friend to Whitehaven Cricket Club.”

Whitehaven were unsuccessful against Cockermouth in two T20 games but secretary Arthur Lamb said: “It’s always a good weekend nonetheless; the first game was quite close.”

It was a competitive clash between Whitehaven and Cockermouth, the latter won the first game by just six runs. Former skipper Jonathon Stewart made 36 runs to help Haven put up a fight. The second meeting saw Cockermouth take another victory, this time by nine wickets. A competitive weekend of cricket would have been a fitting tribute to Mr Bickerstaffe. His son Graeme Bickerstaffe said that the sport was his biggest passion outside of his family: “He loved cricket and absolutely adored being on the field. It was never a chore for him.”

Mr Bickerstaffe started out as a player for Haverigg, West Coast Tannery and Millom Steelworks, he was also president of the league and it was a proud moment when he saw Haverigg, his former side, win promotion to the Northern Premier Division in 2019.

Graeme expressed gratitude for the kind messages. He said: “The messages that we’ve got, it does help the family knowing he was held in such high regard.”

Whitehaven will have the chance to avenge their prior losses to Cockermouth when the First Teams meet again on Saturday in the Raymond Denham Cricket Oval at Sandair. Cleator Moor Cricket Club will face Workington at home in the Ernest Valentine Cricket Ground. Peter Gardiner took over as secretary of the North Lancashire and Cumbria Cricket League in 2015 and he hailed Mr Bickerstaffe as a mentor. He said: “He was a fantastic help to me when I took over as league secretary.

“He showed me the ropes and guided me through the bumps, hollows and pitfalls of running the league.”