BERRY-Shoalhaven Heads Cricket Club is mourning the death on June 26 of Francis James Willis who led Berry to the first grade premiership in 1952-53.
Aged 92, Frank had been one of the oldest past players of the club and also among the oldest from Shoalhaven representative teams.
World War II delayed his cricket career, although he was noted at the age of 13 taking a hat-trick in a wartime game against Bundywallah.
Frank was 18 when he started with Berry seconds in the SDCA's 1946-47 season, and impressed with an unbeaten 53 against Numbaa-Pyree.
He then featured in an epic grand final against Meroo, top-scoring with 50 in the first innings, and it was the sixth day before Berry clinched the premiership.
With great enthusiasm, Frank became club secretary in 1947-48, a position he would hold for three years - and he was one of those who laid down a new wicket on George Watson's farm.
He also performed creditably with Shoalhaven Colts where he would be a regular for three seasons.
There was another hundred against Tomerong in 1948-49 when his knock included 16 boundaries, and he opened in the grand final loss to Nowra Services.
While Frank's best score of 1949-50 was 43 against Currambene, he featured in an opening stand of 112 with Bob Lidbetter against Nowra.
He missed 1949-50 when Berry won the premiership, but returned the following summer as captain although most of the grand final combination were missing.
In his second year as captain, Frank led Berry to victory in the 1952-53 grand final; and as well as accepting the premiership trophy at presentation night, he contributed to the entertainment by singing a solo.
Although he played only the occasional season after that, he top-scored on at least five occasions for Berry in the 1961-62 season.
He made a comeback in 1971-72 when the club fielded two teams in second grade, playing with Berry II alongside his son John.
Frank hit 45 in a game against Nowra, while his 30 in the semi-final against Berry I was a crucial knock.
Berry II won the premiership, and Frank's final game provided his fourth flag with the club.
After that he retained an interest through sons John and David, and grandson Simon who all had notable careers with the club.
Since retiring from cricket, Frank had be an active member of the Bomaderry Bowling Club - especially with their weekly Chookrun events.
Frank joined the Bomaderry Mens Bowling Club in May 1992, winning the club triples in 2003, major minor pairs in 2005, club fours in 2013 and major minor pairs in 2015.
Frank was a major contributor to the Sunday Chookrun seeking out local businesses for sponsorship and kept everyone informed as the publicist for the Bomaderry Men's Bowling Club with an article every Wednesday in the South Coast Register.
Frank will be dearly missed by all.