Geoff Owen, one of the most prolific run-scoring batsmen of his generation in Hampshire club cricket, has left the crease for the last time, having died recently, aged 69, after a brave battle against cancer.
He scored a phenomenal 33,000 runs for Havant, who he led to a succession of Southern League titles in the 1970s, and more than 5,000 for the Hampshire Seniors.
A popular and hugely respected PE teacher, who taught at Havant and Southern Grammar before Mayfield, Owen was raised in the west country and played for Tavistock as a teenager.
He studied at St Luke’s College, now Exeter University, before his first teaching job at Havant.
And from there he went on to make an indelible mark as one of the area’s most versatile sportsmen.
He played Hampshire League soccer for Ryde Sports at Partlands and was also a flying winger for Havant Hockey Club’s first team in the days of grass pitches.
‘He always wore glasses and the sight of him scampering down the wing with that ubiquitous knotted thin white elastic securing his spectacles is something I’ll always remember,’ smiled close friend and Havant team-mate Robin Sykes.
But alongside his family, cricket was always his first love – and his staggering statistics bear out what a fine batsmen he was.
Doughty, courageous and resolute – bowlers simply hated bowling at him.
His batting stance was unorthodox but his nimble footwork and ability to get to the pitch of the ball and power shots through the covers was beyond reproach.
Owen played for Havant for more than 45 years – nine of them as captain – and was an excellent role model.
He was competitive but always within the spirit of fair play and with a degree of fun.
He skippered with great skill and understanding, especially with young players.
Owen played for Hampshire Seniors for more than 17 years, notching six centuries.
He captained Hampshire 60s, was selected for England Seniors in 2009 and scored a magical 850 runs in his final season in 2014, after which his illness was diagnosed.
Owen was a warm, supportive and generous man who filled almost every role during his long association with Havant, where he was club president.
His life will be celebrated at The Oaks Crematorium in Havant on Monday, April 4 (2.30pm) and afterwards at The Brookfield Hotel, Emsworth.