'It is indeed a very sad day for cricket in this area as well as South Africa. He was seen as a doyen of umpiring in this country and every umpire would know that he has to report to "Oom Ben" before each game.'
NORTHERN Cape Cricket paid tribute to its stadium manager, Ben Neethling, who died on Saturday in Bloemfontein.
Neethling was hospitalised over the Easter weekend and had been in hospital and rehabilitation centres ever since.
Neethling started working for the then Griqualand West Cricket Board in July 1997. He had served the game in various capacities over the past 20 years but one can safely say his passion was for the umpires and their well-being and club cricket.
Later on in his career he was moved to the stadium where he served cricket until his death. He will be fondly remembered by all the umpires who would “report” in his office for duty for every game at “his” Oval.
Neethling, as a senior member of staff was always available to provide advice or share his knowledge with the younger staff members.
Ben is survived by his wife Johanna, three children and one grandchild. He was 66 years old.
“Ben will be fondly remembered by all at Northern Cape Cricket and on behalf of the cricket fraternity we send our condolences to his family and friends,” said Northern Cape Cricket president Rihaan Richards.
Eugene Jacobs CEO of Northern Cape Cricket added: “We started out together in July 1997 in the cricket world and what a journey it has been. I was very privileged to have worked with Ben, we spent many hours on the road together travelling to all parts of the Northern Cape.
“It is indeed a very sad day for cricket in this area as well as South Africa. He was seen as a doyen of umpiring in this country and every umpire would know that he has to report to ‘Oom Ben’ before each game.
“I must say a giant in the cricket world has fallen. Our condolences go out to his wife, Johanna and the children at this very sad time.” – ANA