Players, members and supporters of Scarborough Rugby club were shocked with the announcement on Sunday of the sudden death on Saturday evening of Dave Prince, a club stalwart, press reporter and former fixture secretary.
Particularly as the 74-year-old father and grandfather had walked to the club on Saturday and enjoyed an afternoon watching the Six Nations rugby.
I’ve known Dave for well over 20 years and over the years I suppose we have visited most of the grounds in Yorkshire.
In recent times, he had done his share of note-taking and reporting for the Scarborough News in all weathers.
The avuncular former North Yorkshire Police officer was well-known to the many supporters of other Yorkshire One clubs whom he made a point of welcoming and engaging in lively rugby conversion when they visited Scarborough.
He was also a very familiar figure to Scarborough players over the years and often had a friendly but frank exchange of views with them after the action was over.
Honest criticism or praise came from the hip and was always taken in the spirit in which it was given.
Testimony to this is the overwhelming response on social media from many players, some now scattered across the globe on the news of his death.
Going back to 1996, the West Yorkshireman completely took over my press duties when I was out of action for over a year with a life-threatening illness.
He made a real success of his scribing duties, although his unique style was not always popular with the team.
After one particularly poor Scarborough performance he wrote ‘it would have been a good idea to introduce the players to one another before the game started’.
As he expected, his words had the desired effect as the team won the following week with a storming performance to prove him wrong.
Although hampered by back problems, he often joined the volunteers as the club prepared for big games, brushing out the stand being his specialty.
Dave also served a period as honorary fixture secretary.
Club chief executive officer Graeme Young said, “Dave was a gentleman and a Scarborough rugby man through and through.
“His enthusiasm for the game at all levels was infectious and he will be sorely missed at Scarborough Rugby Club.”
Dave’s funeral will be held at Woodlands Crematorium on Thursday March 24, 1.20pm start, with a wake being held at the Silver Royd club afterwards.
And finally, the last time I talked to him was last Saturday afternoon at Silver Royd while we were watching the England-Wales game.
And it’s comforting to know that the last game he watched saw his beloved England put one over on the old enemy Wales.