The North West Cricket Union lost another of its real characters this week with the passing of Waterside man George McDaid.

Anyone who ever met George will have a story to tell about him, and boy there were plenty. He was a one-club man from start to finish and was the first to form a boys team at Waterside CC.

He did the fundraising on his own and as a wheeler/dealer of great renown he was able to provide all the gear that his team needed.

George also took the boys to away games and he would always say that the Datsun easily had room for 11- two in the front, six in the back and three in the boot. In those Health and Safety concious 80's, that was usually how he got his team to games too.

I remember going to watch his boys team play at the Boathole one evening and as we walked around the field he told me he had "gone off the fags". I asked him if he was finding it difficult and he replied "Well it was difficult tonight anyway. There were 12 of us in the car and I was the only one not smoking."

Obviously things became a little less light-hearted after 1986 when Waterside lost their ground at Corrody. After that the club had stints at Prehen, then Lisnagelvin and finally Gransha playing fields.

People like Dermott Kelly, Martin McLaughlin, Liam Bradley, Brian Dunlop, Charlie Kelly, Dee Murray and Brian Larkin hung around to try to keep things going but it was an uphill battle.

George and I went together to meet Jim Lindsay when we physically could no longer get anything close to 11 and it was gut-wrenching to have to pull what was then the Union's oldest club out of the North West.

George though wasn't finished. Undeterred, he decided to enter a midweek team- made up almost exclusively of his own family.

Several of us had by that stage moved to City of Derry and that didn't sit well with him. Even less so when the two teams were drawn together at Judges Road in the midweek cup.

I didn't have the cahoonas to play against Waterside the first time the sides met but did so a year later in a midweek league game.

He gave me out lbw to his son Sean but I was well prepared as he had told me the night before that it would happen.

He gave Sean out lbw in their innings before realising what he had done. He seemingly hadn't recognised him under a helmet and only noticed when the batsman shouted "Jesus, da!!".

"Is that you Sean? Stay where ye are, it was going down leg" was the new verdict.

It was impossible to take offence at George. He was the ultimate loveable rogue.

Our condolences to the McDaid family at this difficult time. Another true character has left us.

LM