Sad News – Eric Haworth

It is with great sadness that the club announces the sudden passing of club stalwart Eric Haworth after a short but aggressive illness.

Eric was well known in local cricket and rugby, notably with Calder Vale / Belvedere before he joined Lowerhouse CC circa 2002.

Eric quickly threw himself into the junior section; coaching and managing the junior sides that son Alex played in.

Eric was very generous both financially and with his time. Within weeks of joining he had replaced all the clubs 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 were 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. Periodically Eric would ask me as current groundsman – what do I need – and within a day or two a new piece of ground equipment would arrive, latterly a refurbished heavy roller.

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 cared passionately about the young players at the club,their aspirations and their cricketing hopes. Between us we would identify the youngest players who would benefit from extra tuition and Eric along with their parents would additionally tutor them on Saturday mornings. The resultswere spectacular, with notable improvements which in some cases led to county recognition for the player.

Another delightful side of Eric was how emotional he would become over the success of the juniors or individuals. After Alex became too old for the juniors Eric settled on developing the youngest players in the club – the under 9s and in particular the under 9B team who were usually players playing their first ever organised cricket matches. Eric would umpire and manage and in the early days I would score. As you can imagine, success for these 7 -9 year old novices was difficult to come by. Often playing against A teams but the emphasis was on enjoyment and development. It was a formula that worked and Eric, along with Dave Waddington in recent years kept plugging away. Success was measured in improvement and smiles on the children’s faces. In 2013 the u9 Bees finished runners up on the final day of the season on a sunny Sunday morning at Haslingden. As the parents and children gathered around for the announcement, you can imagine how pleased they were to have done so well. Eric was so emotional, he was unable to speak as all the juniors shook his hand and said thank you. It was typical of Eric’s passion and typical of the respect and fondness that the kids had for Eric.

Eric had a keen sense of humour and introduced a number of awards for the children. We encouraged the children to want to win, but not to be downcast or adversely affected if things went wrong. Eric had 2 awards. The duck award (a yellow plastic duck) for someone who had done something funny or daft during the game. The thought was that the child wouldn’t dwell on the down side of the incident but would see the humour in it, and that it wasn’t the end of the world for them. He also has the Octopus Award (a green plastic octopus). This was for the best performance in the game. When introducing it Eric described it as the highest accolade in cricket. Generations of under 9s have believed that they had won something higher than anyone else in the world of cricket… Namely a 6” bright green plastic Octopus

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 player s, 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.

Eric raised sponsorship too for the under 9s, notably from Molly Rigby’s club in Padiham and the teams were so named. I am sure that Brian at Molly’s mind if we name the under 9Bs henceforth as the LHCC U9 Eric Haworth’s. It’s only a small gesture but a very fitting one and will keep Eric fully involved in perpetuity.

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.

Rest in Peace

Eric’s funeral is likely to be midweek in the first week of November and will be published here when finalised.