TRIBUTE has been paid to a well-known Craven League cricketer who died after being taken ill during a game.

Ian Wycherley became unwell on Saturday, and died shortly afterwards in Bradford Royal Infirmary. He was 56.

He was playing in a Haworth second XI match at Bingley.

Trevor Coe, fixture secretary with the Mewies Solicitors Craven & District League, said everyone across the league was shocked.

He said the league was devastated to receive the news of Ian's passing in really tragic circumstances.

"The league wish to send our deepest condolences to Ian's family, friends and all at Haworth Cricket Club,” he added.

“It is difficult when one loses a member of the cricket fraternity but clubs rally round to show their support.

“On the unofficial Craven Cricket League Facebook page it was amazing to see messages from numerous clubs and players.”

A minute’s silence was held before Haworth’s under-9s game on Sunday and it will be repeated ahead of all league games this weekend.

This week, shocked colleagues at Haworth Cricket Club paid tribute to the “gentle giant”.

And councillors spoke of the community’s devastation.

A club committee member said: “The sudden loss of Ian has hit everyone at the club very hard.

“He was a gentle giant – known to many – and was such a lovely guy, always wanting to help in any way he could.

“He had a way with him that could make people smile, we will all miss him very much. Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to his family at this devastating time.”

Worth Valley ward councillor Rebecca Poulsen, who lives in Haworth, said the community had been left devastated.

“From speaking to people who knew Ian it’s clear he was an extremely popular and well-liked guy who loved playing cricket,” she added.

“My thoughts go out to his family, friends and club colleagues.”

Her condolences are echoed by the chairman of Haworth, Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council, Cllr David Mahon. “It’s such a shock for the whole village and so sad,” he said.

Several tributes to Mr Wycherley, a painter and decorator, have also been posted online.

The Haworth club tweeted: “RIP Ian, gone far too soon. You will be greatly missed by everyone at the club. Condolences to Joanie and the rest of the family. Stay strong and everyone at the club will be here for you.”

Mr Wycherley leaves a wife, two children, step-children and six grandchildren.