TRIBUTES are already being paid to Devon cricket manager and mentor Ted Ashman, who died on Monday. He was aged 81.
Ted, a retired primary school headteacher, was the first team manager generations of young cricketers ever encountered.
Many are playing all over Devon and further afield. Others, among them the Overton twins, Matt Wood, Chris Read, Lewis Gregory , Ryan Stevenson and Dom Bess, have gone on to play either Test or county cricket.
Jim Parker, the current chairman of the Devon Youth Age Groups and team manager at under-14 and 15 level, said: “News of Ted’s death will be met with great sadness throughout the world of youth cricket in Devon and beyond and sport generally.
“Ted dedicated and devoted his life to working tirelessly to help Devon Cricket and especially its youth and schools sections get to where it is today – envied by many others and among the best in the country.
“He was from the old school, a true gentleman who believed anybody selected to wear the badge of Devon on their shirt should do so with pride and passion.
“He worked and helped hundreds of children over the years and formed life-long friendships with their families, especially from the festivals at King’s College in Taunton where he was part of the furniture.
“The last time I saw him he was selling raffle tickets to raise money for Exeter City FC. As always helping others. He will be greatly missed.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Jim Wood, a former Devon Cricket Board chairman who worked with Ted for more than a decade.
Said Wood: “It is difficult to over-emphasise Ted’s incredible contribution to Devon Cricket.
“You could write a long list of roles in Cricket undertaken by Ted Ashman. Always completed with a meticulous and conscientious style.
“But for me, and many others Ted’s major contribution related to encouraging girl’s and boys to pick up a cricket bat and have a life-long love of the game.
“Ted championed Devon School’s Kwik Cricket competition for many years.
“And for many of our more talented young cricketers Ted Ashman managing Devon Under 11’s, this was their first introduction into playing representative cricket.
“Together, with his wife Sally, he ensured many cricketers understood, at a very early age, the importance of the ‘Spirit of Cricket’.
“The values they instilled are embodied by a number of our most successful cricketers.
“Devon Youth Cricket was not only very successful, it was played in the spirit.
“Ted Ashman has left a very strong legacy and will be fondly remembered
Mark Overton, whose sons Jamie and Craig started their representative careers under Ted Ashman’s guidance, said: “Ted was ‘Mr Youth Cricket’, a true gentleman and the reason why so many children play cricket.”
Matt Thompson, the Devon CCC captain, said standards and principals laid down by Ted remain with him nearly 20 years later.
“I will always remember our training sessions at Exeter School and the part they played in making cricketers out of us,” said Thompson.
“What you learn at an early age stays with you. There must be hundreds of cricketers who owe so much to Ted Ashman. I am one of them.”
Matt Theedom, the development manager for cricket in Devon, said Ted Ashman was a tireless worked for youth cricket.
“Ted was a remarkable man who, along with his late wife Sally, put his heart and soul into cricket,” said Theedom.
“He managed the under-10 and under-11 county sides, ran the schools competitions all over Devon and had a regional role with the English Schools Cricket Association.
“Ted also served as a treasurer of the Devon Cricket Board in its early days.”