DEREK Kay, the vice-chairman of the Bolton Cricket League, has died suddenly at the age of 60.

Well-known in local cricket circles, Mr Kay – the youngest of three cricket-mad brothers - originated from Tottington and played for Greenmount from the 1960s to the late 1990s as opening batsman and wicketkeeper and in the 1970s became one of the youngest first-team captains in the Brandlesholme Road club’s history.

In addition to his strong Greenmount connections, he also became a popular figure in recent years at Bradshaw, where he helped look after The Rigbys ground.

Mr Kay had a continuous involvement with the Bolton League in a variety of capacities since Greenmount joined the league in 1984.

He was a former league chairman, had a spell as manager of the league’s representative team and was still an active member of the league committee, serving as secretary of the ground inspection sub-committee.

Greenmount secretary and cricket chairman Dave Willetts paid tribute to the club’s well-respected former captain, describing news of his death as "absolutely shocking".

“He joined the club in the 1960s and progressed through the seconds to become one of the youngest ever first X1 captains in the later 1970s, replacing Derek Barnet,” Mr Willetts said.

“He was an opening batter who made the game look easy and seemed to have an immense amount of time when playing shots, and also kept wicket.

“He played with some terrific professionals at Greenmount including Franklyn Stephenson, Terry Stewart, Mark Taylor and Matthew Hayden and even ‘kept’ to the legendary Joel Garner when he sub pro’d for Greenmount.

“He called time on his playing career in the late 1990s but remained involved at the highest level.

"His death will leave a massive gap in local cricket."