TOMMY Donlan was probably one of the best 'cue men' Huddersfield has ever produced.

The former fireman was comfortable on the table playing either snooker or billiards, and no-one in the town has ever achieved the same amount of success at both games.

But the 72-year-old Golcar man, who lost a two-year battle against cancer, was no slouch at other sports.

He excelled at football, cricket, golf and bowling and was regarded as one of the town's finest sportsmen for many years.

Donlan won the Open Snooker Championship (for the Huddersfield Examiner Trophy) on no fewer than 12 occasions in a 19-year span (twice as many times as his nearest rivals Denis Rourke and Robert Read).

His last success at snooker came in 1984, but he was also very much to the fore at billiards, winning the Huddersfield Open championship 10 times.

His first success came in 1971 and his 10th title was in 1984. And such was his expertise that he was a regular member of the Huddersfield team in the Yorkshire League, and won the Yorkshire individual billiards crown twice.

For most of his career Mr Donlan played from Lindley Liberal Club, where he also became a very keen crown green bowler, another sport at which he achieved considerable success.

Mr Donlan, who was married to Maureen for almost 49 years, was born in Castleford but moved to Huddersfield as a boy and went to St Patrick's School.

He started work at Hanson Transport but then decided on a career in uniform. He was actually on his way to the old police station in Peel Street when he walked past the fire station - and was persuaded to join the brigade.

His career lasted 31 years, all but two in Huddersfield, and he rose to become a Sub-Officer.

Mr Donlan had cricket trials for Yorkshire and played locally, and also had soccer trials for Burnley and Manchester United while playing for local amateur sides. He was also an eight handicap golfer at Longley Park in Huddersfield.

He leaves a widow and a daughter, Julie. The funeral service is at St Patrick's Church at 11am on Thursday.