Dorking bowler dies after cricket ball hits him on the head
A CRICKETER has died after being hit by a ball during a match.
David Wilcockson, 71, was bowling for Old Dorkinians against Grafham, at their ground in Cranleigh, when a ball was hit back at him and struck him on the head.
Players from both teams rushed to help and he was taken by air ambulance to King's College Hospital in London.
Mr Wilcockson's teammate Andy Leopold told the Advertiser: "It was a wet outfield so the wicket was quite sticky. The batsmen were trying to hit the ball as hard as they could.
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"Dave bowled, the batsman ran down the pitch and middled it towards him. It went straight into his head and he went down."
Mr Wilcockson was in a coma for 13 days, but died in hospital on June 1.
"It is absolutely tragic," Mr Leopold added. "He has been the mainstay of our club for so long.
"He was a gentleman and a gentle man. He was very knowledgeable about the game. He knew a lot of people in the local community."
Mr Wilcockson was the longest-serving member of Old Dorkinians, joining the club in 1959 and playing 1,678 matches, taking 2,899 wickets and 230 catches.
He worked for an insurance company in Reigate before retiring at the age of 49.
He never married and lived all his life in Dorking with his mother, until her death in 2006.
Mr Leopold said: "Dave was very fit, he did a lot of walking; that's how he was still able to open the bowling at 71.
"He was an incredibly fit guy so it was a great shock, it was so sudden.
"He could have bowled on for four or five more years. He wanted to take 3,000 wickets and he ended just 101 short."
The day after Mr Wilcockson's death, Old Dorkinians played a match against Warnham, with players from both teams wearing black armbands and observing a minute's silence.
"A lot of players knew him and they were incredibly shocked," Mr Leopold said. "Dave was much loved by teammates and opposing teams alike. It shows you how respected he was."
Mr Wilcockson's sister Heather Scaplehorn, who lives in Worcestershire, said: "He was a very quiet, unassuming person, but he lived life the way he wanted to – walking, playing cricket and horse racing.
"He was a very considerate person, you could rely on him. If he said he would do something he did it."
Mr Wilcockson's funeral will take place next month.