TRIBUTES have poured in for a beloved figure of cricket in Dorchester following his passing.

Mike King passed away last month and was associated with cricket in the county town and surrounding area for more than 50 years.

King began playing in 1969 aged 14 with his dad Ron and uncles Gordon, Doug and Wyndham Quinton and represented heavyweights Stratton and St George’s.

He was heavily involved in the Dorchester & District Evening League, joining the committee in 1990 and then rising up to vice-chairman for nine years from 2008.

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King then took chairmanship for the next two years before stepping into the secretary role in the challenging Covid-affected seasons of 2020 and 2021.

After becoming secretary, he threw himself into the role and it became a family affair, his wife Shirley became involved and was renowned for her wonderful cricket teas. His daughters Julie and Vicki, plus daughter-in-law Paula, would take on the scoring and are still doing it 40 years later. 

King was presented with the Bill Edwards Trophy for outstanding achievement in the Evening League in 2009.

King contested his first cup final in 2014 one week shy of his 60th birthday, playing with sons Garry and Matt while also lining up against his 17-year-old grandson, Ollie Thomson.

There was also a famous occasion for St George’s where three generations of the King family played in the same team.

On the pitch, King would be the one to volunteer to field at silly point where he took many a good catch and wore many bruises for the cause.

In one particular game, a feisty match in Bournemouth where the opposition were sledging, Mike wandered to the crease and was greeted with "here comes the farmer" to which he replied with a bat-waving gesture and a very broad Dorset accent: "If I it e, e'll be over thic edge".

Sadly, it did not happen as he was cleaned up two balls later and had a glorious send off.

Numerous tributes were paid to King on the evening league’s Facebook page.

Puddletown’s Steve Chaldecott said: “A true Dorset cricketing legend. Started off playing against Mike 40 years ago in our regular weekend friendlies. When he would often flick the ball off his legs with a flick of the bat over the hedge for six.

“And then looked up and gave you that big beaming smile of his.

“Many years of Evening League umpiring and unstinting committee work followed many years of playing the game we all love.

“With the odd St George’s appearance when called upon.

“I remember fondly a cup final we played against each other only a few years ago. Mike stood up into the team when there was a late pullout in the starting 11. This meant he played in a cup final with his two sons Garry and Matt against his grandson Ollie. Can’t think this has ever happened before or since. 

“Hearing this news was very, very sad to me. Genuinely a top, top man.

“I’m so sorry for your loss to all the King family, and much love to all connected with Mike. My thoughts are with you all.”

Martinstown’s Lee House added: “Very sad news. Mike did so much to support and develop local cricket. Thoughts with family and friends at this difficult time.”

Ian Springer said: “Such sad news. Words can't express how much he will be missed.”

All are welcome to attend King’s funeral on Monday at Weymouth Crematorium (1.45pm).

Refreshments will be served after the service at Dorchester Rec. Attendees are urged to dress as they wish.