Russell Evans, one of the most prolific opening batsman from the Bradford League in the 1990s, has died suddenly at the age of 52 after developing complications while undergoing a routine medical procedure.
Evans, who has been on the First-Class Umpires Panel for the past four years, was a heavy runscorer for Farsley and in 1991 he formed a stunning opening partnership with future New Zealand Test star Nathan Astle. Evans scored 1,024 runs and Astle 1,005 as they helped their team win promotion from Division Two.
Evans followed up by making 997 runs in 1992 as Farsley finished second in Division One and in his final campaign with the club, 1993, Evans set what was then a new league record for the most runs with 1,376. In just three seasons he scored 3,327 runs and was particularly adept at hooking the short ball.
He played six times for Nottinghamshire before moving on to play Minor Counties cricket with Lincolnshire while embarking on a career as a marketing director for a cricket bat and equipment manufacturer.
In 2013 he joined the First Class Umpires Panel and officiated in England Women's One Day internatonal and T20 matches. He was recently appointed as the First Class Umpires' representative to the Cricket Discipline Commission.
Recently he had helped aet up a new bat-making company B3 based in Nottinghamshire.
Paying tribute to Evans, ECB First Class Umpirers Manager Chris Kelly said: "This is terribly sad news for all Russell's many friends and colleagues withing our professional game.
"Russell had fulfilled a long-cherished dream by becoming a First Class umpires and was showing the potential to take his career to an even higher level.
"His dilligence, professionalism and attention to detail all won him huge respect among his fellow umpires and no task was too big or small for him. He will be greatly ,issed and we send our deepest sympathies to his family at such an untimely loss."