A CORNISHMAN by birth, John Davey has lived in Somerset since the end of the Second World War.

He became involved in cricket by chance in 1966, when his best man asked him to help build the new pavilion at Huntspill & District Cricket Club, as he was a carpenter and builder by trade.

Following the pavilion opening in 1967, he joined the club and began to play and slowly get more involved in the club, serving on the committee and holding the post of treasurer.

In the mid-1970s, John embarked on developing a youth side for local young people, qualifying as a cricket coach and launching a junior section at the club.

The side entered the newly-formed Taunton & District Under-17 Youth League, and he spent Sunday mornings taking the boys all over the county to play cricket.

As the league developed and the youth section grew, he developed cricket for under-11s, under-13s and under-15s, too, with boys playing in his sides from Bridgwater over to Weston, as at the time not many clubs in the areas were offering youth cricket.

John coached in local schools and ran a winter indoor cricket competition for local comprehensive feeder schools for more than 15 years.

He also coached girls as part of their PE, encouraging them to play competitive cricket, with one of his girls’ sides becoming under-13 county champions.

As John’s involvement in cricket grew, he began to work with the then Somerset County Cricket Association, coaching winter indoor cricket in Highbridge and beginning to manage some of the junior county squad.

In this time, he was fortunate to see the likes of Jos Buttler, Jack Leach, Max Waller and Callum Haggett develop and grow as players in the squads he managed.

He was also the finance administrator for the Association and latterly the Cricket Board for 30-plus years, only recently retiring from this voluntary role.

He is still an active director of the Somerset Cricket Board and financial administrator for the West of England Premier League.

At club level, John is Huntspill’s mainstay, the heartbeat of the club, as he has held most roles on the committee - including many years as chairman and his current position as club treasurer.

He continues to coach, run teams and manage matches.

In the last few years, he again went back to his ‘roots’ in the club by overseeing the building of the new cricket pavilion at the club; he can often be found at the ground, tinkering and doing odd jobs.

There are hundreds of cricketers in the county of Somerset and beyond who have benefitted from John’s coaching and support.

This was shown recently on his 80th birthday in February, when his grandson Matthew was able to put together a film of good wishes and memories from cricketing friends and former cricketers including those who made it to the international field of play.

As one of them said, John is truly a legend in the true sense of the word for everything he has done and continues to do for local cricket and cricketers.

To nominate a ‘club hero’ - someone who is working for the NHS/essential services during the coronavirus pandemic, or who has devoted years to a particular club and deserves recognition - contact us via sport@countygazette.co.uk.