HOWARD Mountain, one of the most respected bowlers in the West Bradford League and Bradford Central League, has died aged 78.

Former Bingley Congs team-mate Iain Copping said: "In his pomp, Howard was genuinely quick for an amateur cricketer.

"Many Bradford League clubs tried to sign him in the 1960s and early 1970s, with Bingley making several attempts.

"He predominantly would swing the ball away from the right handers but he had an off-cutter and many batsmen would have four deliveries swing away and then shoulder arms to the fifth, which was his cutter and have their off stump knocked back.

"Howard was also a capable batsman and scored 50s, while he was a very safe pair of hands at first slip.

"He was also one of the nicest people I have ever known – but he did lose his temper once.

"Howard alway used to open the bowling but he had been at a wedding one week.

"I opened the bowling the following week at Thackley and Howard was marking out his run up at the other end when I said to him 'Howard, Gerry (Hewitt) is bowling from this end'.

"Howard came right up to me and stared at me without saying a word.

"Thackley were about 20-3 when I said to Howard 'You can have a bowl now'.

"His first ball was taken by wicketkeeper Keith Bartle in front of his face, so we looked at each other and moved a pace back, and his next delivery was even quicker.

"He ended up taking 5-5, we bowled Thackley out for about 30 and knocked them off in 2.3 overs.

"Howard apologised to me afterwards for his behaviour – but he opened the bowling for the rest of the season.

"Keith, who kept wicket to him for almost 20 years, said 'He was fast and accurate but always fair'."

Mountain, a regular in the Bradford Central League representative side – who also took 100 league wickets in a season and won the league averages more than once – leaves wife Dorothy and sons David and Derek.

There was a service to celebrate his life at Oakworth Crematorium, followed by refreshments at the Grouse pub. Donations can be made to Macmillan Nurses and Manorlands Hospice.

It is the third death of a stalwart that Congs have suffered in recent weeks, following Tony Neasham and Keith Brooke.