Michael Patricks, legendary all-rounder, dies after long illness

2010-05-18 00:00

WELL-KNOWN sports personality and devoted family man Michael Patricks died last Friday after a long illness. He was 66.

The former cricketer and footballer was a legend in local sporting circles and further afield. Born in 1943 and schooled in Nottingham Road, Patricks was a carpenter by trade before he transferred a passion for cricket into his position as a groundsman. He retired as stadium manager of the historic Maritzburg Oval.

A left-handed batsman and left-arm seamer who was also a fine fielder in any position, Patricks captained the Natal Cricket Board team in the days of sports segregation, and recognition as one of the foremost players of his generation came with his selection for the South African Invitation XI in 1972.

Respected cricket historian Krish Reddy, a former team-mate of Patricks, told The Witness yesterday that his long-time friend was a superb athlete with a warrior’s heart.

“Mike was super-fit, fiercely competitive, and I would rather have him in my team than against me, but he was also scrupulously fair in the way he played the game,” said Reddy.

“Michael was an all-rounder in the true sense of the word for he could command a place in any representative side on the strength of his batting or bowling alone.”

Patricks also played professional football for Maritzburg City, while his cricket career was spent at local clubs, including Orientals and Young Natalians. He was the current chairman of the Woodlands-based Lancashire Cricket Club.

The all-rounder was also a founder member of Aurora Cricket Club in the KZN capital, widely acknowledged as the first non-racial cricket club in the country.

An honourable, principled man who lived life to the full, Patricks abhorred pretentious people and had no time for pomp and ceremony.

“Mike spoke his mind and didn’t suffer fools gladly, although at heart he was a simple country boy from Estcourt, an immensely compassionate man and a loyal friend,” Reddy said.

“Michael is a legend in Pietermaritzburg sport and his strong mind and character were evident in the way he came to tackle his illness,” said Reddy.

“He fought the good fight until the very end.”

A devoted family man, Patricks leaves his wife Lavinia, sons Ashley and Loram, seven grandchildren and a great grandchild.

Michael Patricks’s funeral takes place at the Woodlands Catholic Church at 10.30 am tomorrow.

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