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Dave Hurrell: 'Mr Cricket' of the New Forest who encouraged young players

Dave Hurrell played for Sway CC
Dave Hurrell played for Sway CC

A LEADING light of Sway Cricket Club who was a hugely popular figure on the local cricket scene has died at the age of 61.

Tributes poured in to “true gentleman” Dave Hurrell, with officials from Brockenhurst, Pylewell, Hythe and Dibden, and Fawley cricket clubs – as well as the New Forest and Hampshire cricket boards – acknowledging the contribution he made to colts and adult cricket.

A cornerstone of Sway Cricket Club, Dave played there for more than 20 years and was a member of its committee as treasurer as well as its representative on the Jubilee Field users group.

But more than that were the enduring friendships he formed. With his passion and enthusiasm he ensured many youngsters curious about the sport would go on to become devotees of the game. Quite a few currently playing in Sway’s first team owe a debt to Dave.

As a player he was a quality opening batsman whose patience at the crease enabled him to score 4,429 runs in over 400 appearances – making him the fourth highest run scorer in Sway CC’s history.

Dave scored the most ever runs for the club as an opener, notching 10 half-centuries in the process, and patented a shot that was termed “the Hurrell hoick” – a lusty blow to cow corner. Dave was fondly known usually to have a ready excuse when he was out.

The stories were also legend of his considered opinion that all his team captains underused him as a spin bowler. He took 75 wickets in all – his 5-28 against Langley Manor in 2001 being his best ever return.

His secret weapon was what teammates termed the “moonball”, an absurdly high and very accurate delivery which baffled many a batsman.

A great fielder, he had “bucket hands” and pouched an impressive 125 catches. A true team player, he was always happy to help with the scoring or umpiring and was a great source of club statistics.

Dave’s fondness for cake and biscuits meant he was always a good source for knowing where the best cricket teas could be found. Other than the ones at Sway, he counted Beaulieu’s among the finest.

He joined Sway Cricket Club after moving to the local area in 1997 to work with the maintenance team at Walhampton School in Lymington.

Dave drove the school’s buses and was popular with the pupils – even managing to persuade a few to play cricket for Sway. It was also at Walhampton where he met his future wife, Keenan, the school’s nurse. They were married in Scotland in 2007.

Born in Ruislip, Dave was the second youngest of five children and passionate about cricket from an early age, having got into the sport under the influence of his dad.

After leaving school he gained a City & Guilds qualification in painting and decorating and lived and worked in Gerard’s Cross, becoming a passionate supporter of Queens Park Rangers FC. He was also a huge fan of Dad’s Army and Strictly Come Dancing.

Sway Cricket Club president Chris Baughan, a long-time friend, said: “Dave was a very private and proud man who would always stand his round at the bar.

“Considering his illness, he was one of the most positive people alive, never gave up and always thought things will improve tomorrow. But sadly he has gone and will be greatly missed by all those young and old who knew him – a legend!”

Club secretary Rick How added: “In no particular order after cricket he loved his beer, football and horse racing and always had a bet on both on a Saturday – but you only heard about the horses that won!”

Dave Marshall, 2nd XI all-rounder, continued: “As countless people have already said, everyone knew Dave and no one had a bad word to say about him: a lovely man, a true gentleman in all the senses of the word.

“He helped to coach the colts, many are playing because of him, was a friendly team captain and always played with great attitude and sportsmanship. If he knew he was out he never waited for the umpire’s decision; just his bat under his arm and off.”

During his time at the club Dave was fixtures secretary, turned out for all its adult teams, captained the friendly side for six years and helped the first, second and third teams win promotions.

One of his enduring legacies was helping to get Sway signed up to the Tony Woodhouse Trophy, which promotes young teenagers getting into adult cricket.

Hythe and Dibden’s Steve Chiverton called Dave a “New Forest cricket legend” who was “one of the nicest blokes in local cricket”.

He added: “Dave always played with a smile on his face. The valued friendship our club has with Sway started when Dave was fixture secretary and Sway joined the Woodhouse Trophy. To that we will always be grateful.”

Dave was also on the committee of the New Forest Club Cricket Association for many years – the organisation held a minute’s silence for Dave at their AGM on Monday evening – and played football for Forest Heath FC.

Among the tributes that poured in on social media, some acknowledged the contribution Dave had in getting them into cricket.

F.J. Charton, who plays for Sway’s first team, said: “What a true gent – the Mr Cricket of the New Forest. Dave was the one who got me into cricket and thanks to his enthusiasm and knowledge I and most of the others are still at Sway CC today.”

Sam Nailor added: “A true Sway hero who would be far too humble to recognise the massive impact he had on a generation of young players developed at our club. Not only a true model in how to conduct yourself in the game but also how to conduct yourself as a person.”

Sway CC member Mike Steadman added: “A great innings cut short.”

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