Cricket players, umpires and supporters of the game will be immensely saddened at the sudden passing of one of its best-known, liked and respected characters in the game at the age of 79.

Hilliard Davies’ name was synonymous with Whitland as a very talented all-rounder in his younger days as a right arm bowler and left-handed batsman who could hit the ball many a mile.

He was fiercely competitive but always ready for a chat, on and off the pitch, with the huge smile that was part of his make-up.

It was a similar story with his umpiring because he was regarded as one of top officials in the county and knew the game inside out, something that players quickly understood and respected.

He twice was chosen as umpire for the Harrison-Allen Bowl Final, firstly in 2003 with Les Hastings when Carew beat Haverfordwest and again in 2009 with Tony Scourfield as Cresselly beat Neyland – and also took charge of finals in all the other major cup finals too.

Hilliard played most of his cricket at Whitland but when they disbanded for a short while he played well for Neyland, where he had family, before returning to Whitland when they started up again.

He was deservedly honoured with life membership in recognition of his services to the club as a player, president and groundsman who spent many hours cutting the outfield, as well as watching the club play whenever he had chance.

On a personal note I had first-hand experience of Hilliard’s power hitting when I played for a Pembroke team which had Lyn Evans and Terry Harvey as the best opening bowlers in division two and restricted Hilliard and Brian Cook, his brother in law, to 40 for 0 in 22 overs and with Hilliard on 28.

Then he decided it was time to on the counter-attack and eight overs later he had reached his hundred, with Brian chipping in with a 50 as Whitland reached 240+ from their allotted 40 overs!

He was also a talented player in other sports too; playing in goal for Llanelli during the time that his work on the railway took him there, as a full back for Whitland RFC and as a very good darts and snooker player.

Trefor Evans, another umpire from Whitland and a well-known cricket administrator said: “Hilliard was my great friend and a true gentleman – and in all the years that I knew him I never once heard him put anyone down. He always set himself high standards and never let anyone down.

“We have lost a great man at our club and cricket has lost one of its best and so it was nice that a minute’s silence was held in games throughout the county, something that was richly deserved.”

We can only endorse Trefor’s kind words and our thoughts at this time go out to his smashing wife Caroline, son Paul and wife Tara, plus grandchildren he adored in Lucas and Ruby, as well as the rest of his family.