Glowing tributes to former Barton cricket captain and Torquay United player Roy Horswell
FORMER Barton 1st XI captain Jim Parker has led the tributes to ex-footballer and cricketer Roy Horswell, who has died aged 84.
Horswell, who lived in Torquay, was a Barton cricketer for more than 30 years, where he made a big impression on the young Parker.
You can leave your own tributes to Roy Horswell in the comments panel below this article
Parker, the editor of the Herald Express, followed in Horswell's footsteps as Barton captain, winning Premier Division titles and Devon KO Cups along the way.
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Horswell was a winning captain and player for Barton in the Narracott and Brockman Cups. Parker said what he learned from his mentor stood him in good stead.
"I played my first game at Barton when I was just 12," said Parker, now the club's cricket manager and still playing in the 2nd XI aged 56.
"Roy was there then, a larger-than-life character who was respected by everybody.
"I looked up to him and his wife Esther and he guided me during my early playing days.
"He was a hard task-masker, a man who believed in discipline and playing the game hard. He was a legend at Barton and I and many, many others, owe him so much."
Horswell played one game for Devon in 1957 – earning an entry in Wisden – but was never picked again.
Tim Price was a Barton team-mate of Horswell's in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Price remembers Horswell with respect and affection.
"Roy Horswell was the finest captain I played under – and I had a few," said Price.
"I was 15 when I first went to Barton, but was too young to get in the side regularly so went to play for Shiphay St John for a while.
"Roy brought me in and we finished up opening the batting together for years.
"Barton were not an easy side to captain, but Roy did it with a hand of iron if needed.
"I will always remember the 1968 side of Roy's as I scored 1,000 runs and it was the best side I ever played in."
As well as skippering the 1st and 2nd XIs, Horswell worked on Barton's clubhouse building project which started in 1957.
Barton moved to Cricketfield Road in 1954, having played at Windmill Hill, King George V Playing Fields and Barton Downs between 1946-53.
Mike Janes had two views of Horswell as a cricket rival and a football colleague.
Janes, who played cricket for Torquay Corinthians, turned out in the same Torquay United Reserve side as Horswell during the mid-1950s.
Janes, now retired from his job as head of production at the Herald Express, said Horswell was an uncomplicated footballer who held the side together.
"I was a 14-year-old grammar school boy when I started playing in the A Team with Roy, which played in the South Devon League Division One," said Janes.
"Roy was an exceptional inside forward who could also play wing-half who had been signed from Hele Rovers.
"Roy and Colin Maddicott – an uncompromising centre-half – were the stabilising influences in what was a young side.
"After a year in the A Team we were both promoted to the Reserves, and I can still remember our first South Western League game against Penzance.
"We were only in the South Western League a year when Torquay switched to the Western League Division Two, where we played together for four or five years.
"I stopped in 1956-57 because I was promoted at work and had to work some Saturdays. From then on cricket was number one for me.
"Roy carried on a bit longer at Plainmoor before moving to Taunton Town. At Torquay you got travelling expenses and that was it. Taunton had a bit more money and Roy went up there with a winger called Danny Knapman, who had been displaced from the team by Ernie Pym.
"If I had to write an epitaph for Roy it would be: he was a terrific sportsman and a nice bloke."
Roy Horswell and wife Esther (83) were married for 57 years.
Apart from two years in the Army, Horswell spent his working life as a blacksmith with Torbay Council before retiring 30 years ago.
He died at Torbay Hospital after being taken ill at home in Ellacombe, Torquay.
Mrs Horswell said she wanted to thank all neighbours and friends who have supported her since Roy's death.
She added: "We had 57 happy years together. What more could I want?"
No date has yet been set for the funeral, but Esther wants donations in lieu of flowers to be made to the local Alzheimer's Group or the intensive care unit at Torbay Hospital.