Roy Torrens, who lost his battle with Covid on Saturday, was a legend of Irish cricket long after his playing days.

Although he won 30 caps for Ireland as a pacy opening bowler, after making his debut as an 18-year-old in 1966, it was his 11 years as team manager for which he will be most fondly remembered.

Between his time on the field and then organising the team off it, he was a virtual ever-present in the Cricket Ireland set-up, first as a selector - he was chairman for two years - then as a board member at national and inter-provincial level and finally President of the old Irish Cricket Union in Millennium Year.

He got the call to manage the team in 2005 and three months later Ireland had qualified for their first World Cup finals in the West Indies. He would enjoy the same experience at qualifying tournaments ahead of the finals in India, where memorably they defeated England in 2011, and in Australia/New Zealand in 2015.

His friendship with coach Phil Simmons was legendary and the now West Indies head coach tweeted after learning of Roy's death: "You were a friend even more than the legend you are. I will miss you Big Fella and the good times we shared as will the many people that you made smile. I will have a large glass of Red for you tonight".

His popularity in the dressing room was underlined by tweets from international players. "You'll never know how much an effect you had on people's lives" - Gary Wilson. "You were always there for me" - Kyle McCallan. "The hours he put in behind the scenes making sure the players were happy and ready to perform cannot be underestimated" - Andrew White.

As well as spending a lifetime with Brigade Cricket Club - he was club chairman for the last five years - Roy was also a footballer in his younger days, good enough to play three amateur internationals for Northern Ireland and either side of two spells with his native Derry City, he played for Ballymena United in the 1970 Irish Cup final.

His service to cricket was recognised in 2009 with the award of the OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List but it was his friendship that anyone who came into contact with Roy that he will be remembered for most.
As he put it: "When we meet, we don't shake hands. We hug."

Roy is survived by his wife Joan, daughters Andrea, Judith and Joanne, sister Audrey and brothers Ross and Ian.