Tributes have been paid to former Cricket Ireland president Basil McNamee who has died at the age of 81.
McNamee’s playing career included helping Queen’s University to their only NCU League title in 1959 and stalwart service for Dungannon.
He became Cricket Ireland president in 2010 and then Ireland team manager Roy Torrens said he was a popular figure with the national squad.
“He knew what he was talking about,” said Torrens.
“The players realised he had played the game at a competitive level.
“He had an excellent rapport with the team and was great company off the field. He was what we call a good tourist!”
Ulster Senior Cup triumph with North
McNamee’s playing career saw him compete in two North West Senior Cup Finals for Donemana while still at Foyle College.
After helping Queen’s University to their 1959 League triumph, a decade later he captained North of Ireland to victory over the students in the Ulster Senior Cup Final.
McNamee was one of six doctors on parade in that final and that same season topped the batting averages in the Northern Cricket Union.
An opening batsman and medium paced bowler, he was good enough to captain Ulster Town and later on, was Dungannon’s leading all-rounder for 11 seasons, scoring nearly 6,500 runs and taking 399 wickets.
On one memorable occasion in 1989, Basil was joined in Dungannon’s team by his three sons – who included BBC Radio Ulster’s Sportsound presenter Michael McNamee – and they dismissed Victoria for 26.
His term of office as Cricket Ireland president saw him attend two global tournaments – the 2010 World Twenty20 in the West Indies and the World Cup in India a year later.
I had the pleasure of turning out on numerous occasions alongside Basil and his son Michael for the Leprechauns XI in the annual match against Dungannon Royal School and it was always a joy.
The craic was good before, during and after the match but the games always had a competitive element, which only added to the enjoyment.
Later, during his term as president of Cricket Ireland, I used to meet Basil when Ireland played internationals at Stormont.
I always enjoyed our chats out on the balcony or in the clubhouse whenever rain stopped play. He knew the game inside out and always had something interesting to say.
Basil never missed the annual get together of Cricket Ireland’s ex-presidents at the Ballymascanlon Hotel near Dundalk which poignantly was due to take place this week.
Basil McNamee was a fine cricketer, a capable and popular administrator but, more importantly, he was a lovely man and great company.
I would like to pass on my sincere condolences to the family circle.