ONE of the gentlemen of table tennis died last week.
Seventy-four-year-old Bob Cratchley, of Dalton, played in the Huddersfield League for almost 50 years.
Although not among the title winners, he helped coach his son, William, to the Huddersfield Under 17 championship in 1979 and Men's Closed title in 1988.
Bob was eternally enthusiastic about the game, and despite his lack of individual trophies he was no mean performer.
He represented Huddersfield veterans on many occasions in a team that included Gerald Smith and former England international Raymond Hinchliff.
He started playing while doing his National Service as a medical orderly in the Army.
He was posted to Berlin during the blockade by the Russians.
On returning to Huddersfield in 1950 he joined TW Johnsons at Moldgreen where he spent all his working life as a finishing fine worsted machine operator.
Table tennis was still a very big part of his free time, however, and he played for Passenger Transport and then the YMCA before helping to form a club at Johnson's.
Though predominantly a defensive player, he had an attacking backhand flick which surprised many of his opponents.
A quiet and unassuming man, he was awarded the Alan Land Sportsmanship Trophy in 2002 in recognition of his friendly and sporting attitude to competitive table tennis.
He leaves a widow Kathleen, son William and daughter Susan, and four grandchildren.