Tributes paid to late Haydn Davies – ‘absolute Essex Schools cricket legend’
PUBLISHED: 11:00 02 April 2020
Tributes have been paid to the late Haydn Davies, who died recently at the age of 84.
Born in Swansea on November 9, 1935 he graduated from Swansea University with a degree in mathematics and would spend all of his teaching career in Newham.
He started teaching in East Ham in 1958, quite by accident, after being told of a need for teachers in east London while attending a party in Barking.
The following day he went to East Ham Town Hall and was offered a job at Thomas Lethaby School, where he spent a year before starting at East Ham Grammar School in 1959.
In his first year he taught Ronnie Boyce, who later scored the winning goal for West Ham in the 1964 FA Cup final, and would stay at the school, which became Langdon, until his retirement in August 1993.
Davies was involved in organising school cricket at Thomas Lethaby, East Ham GS and Langdon, giving up every Saturday during the summer term as well as countless midweek evenings for matches and practice.
In 1960 he started to help running the East Ham district squad, continuing until 1965 when East Ham and West Ham became Newham and he began an under-13 team which he ran until 1993.
He also ran inter-district competitions during July and August and, in 1962, he became a committee member for the Essex Schools’ Cricket Association. He remained in post for over 50 years and was still active in the summer of 2018.
For the most part he organised all fixtures and, in the peak years during the 1980s, would arrange over 100 games each season, for sides ranging from under-11s to under-19s.
Davies would source grounds and umpires and organise tours for most teams, with only a few odd days during most school summer holidays passing by without a match.
He would also arrange county cup competitions and finals, with many players emerging through the Essex Schools’ set-up to play for the county, including Sir Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Neil Foster, James Foster, Robert and Adrian Rollins, Nasser Hussein and Paul Pritchard to name a few.
The list also included Chris Gladwin, who was guided through the Langdon, Newham and Essex Schools age groups.
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Davies also served as a selector for the South of England and was recognised for his outstanding service to schools’ cricket with a 50-year long-service award from the Essex Schools Cricket Association, presented to him in October 2014 by Hussein and Stephen Peters – both former Essex schoolboys – at a dinner in Brentwood.
Steve Wilks said: “Haydn was also a life member of the English Schools Cricket Association and won numerous other awards, but kept the news to himself.
“Having been a pupil at East Ham Grammar School and Langdon and having represented Essex Schools (1972-76) I got to know Haydn very well.
“In 1983, having become a teacher, he persuaded me to run the Essex under-19 team, which I did for seven years. Subsequently, I worked alongside Haydn for 35 years and he became part of my family.
“In recent years, I have taken on more of Haydn’s work as he didn’t do email or mobile phones. However, when he became ill in 2018, I realised just how much work he did and how many connections he had.
“Following his death, both Robert Rollins and I posted facebook messages. They attracted hundreds of comments. I can’t believe there has been anyone who has contributed more to youth cricket in Essex. He will be missed by all who knew him.”
After suffering a stroke in December 2018, Davies spent time in Royal London and Whipps Cross hospitals before moving to Gable Court nursing home.
He had a brief spell in King George hospital around the turn of the year when it was discovered he had cancer of the gall bladder.
Among the many tributes posted on facebook were: “Haydn was a lovely man that would do anything he could to help. Never seen so much cricket equipment in the boot of a car.”
“An absolute legend. He seemed to be the manager of every Essex age group side I played for.”
“An absolute legend always positive in everything he did, and he did it with a smile. RIP Haydn.”
“They broke the mould when they made Haydn. Such a lovely man and another huge pair of shoes to fill.”
There were many more tributes paid to Davies, including at essexcricket.org.uk.
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