The Shoalhaven cricketing fraternity learned on April 7, that after a long battle with cancer, the death of Mark Williams at Cooma, who won two first grade premierships with Ex-Servicemen back in the 1970s.
He was a fourth generation Shoalhaven cricketer, his great-grandfather and grandfather both playing with Kangaroo Valley, and his father Glen started with that club before moving to Nowra during World War II.
With the youngest age group in the 1960s being under 12s, Mark started in 1964-65 and spent three years there with the St Michaels club.
In his second year he scored 40 out of a total of 68 as his team beat Bomaderry in the semi-final, only to lower its colours to Trojans in the grand final.
Mark emerged as a star in 1966-67 when he took 5/14 in the semi-final against Panthers, and dominated the grand final with an unbeaten 59 and 6/25 against Trojans, to share the premiership with younger brother Sam.
He had figures of 4/6 and 6/4 in an earlier game against Panthers, and had figured in an opening stand of 110 with Michael Seyffer before they both retired.
In his second season of under 14s (1968-69), Mark made a clean sweep of the association averages, achieving 111.3 with the bat and 4.9 with the ball.
There was a knock of 110 not out including 16 fours against Trojans at the Added Area, a double of 84 and 7/56 against Berry, and 11 wickets (4/17 and 6/16) in a clash with Bomaderry.
Making his senior debut that summer with Trojan thirds aged 13, he scored 267 runs, featured in two century stands and had a best of 56 against Bomaderry Blues.
Mark's last season of juniors with St Michaels was 1969-70 when he won the under 16 batting average with a figure of 93.00, and in representing the Illawarra Cricket Council 15s, scored 49 not out against Hawkesbury.
Continuing with Trojan thirds, he hit 95 not out in a 173-run partnership with Stephen Bray, and went on to win the batting trophy for that division, only to have his team eliminated in the semi-final.
With Trojans disappearing from the scene, Mark joined Ex-Servicemen in 1970-71 and played mainly in second grade which won the premiership.
In his first full season of first grade (1971-72), the 16-year-old scored 363 runs at 33.00 to finish second in the association averages.
He had shared an opening stand of 110 with Dig Aldous against Ulladulla United, and showed his versatility with a double of 59 not out and 5/13 against Warriors.
When Ex-Servicemen won the 1972-73 premiership, Mark was fourth in the averages with 239 runs at 34.14, boosted by an unbeaten 107 against Cambetross at Clarkson Oval, while he top-scored with 62 against the same club in the semi-final.
While he registered a half-century with Shoalhaven seniors against South Coast in 1973-74, Mark emerged as a front-line off-spinner in club games, taking 42 wickets including four bags of five or more.
His bowling was also to the fore in the premiership year of 1974-75 when he took a career best 8/80 against Kangaroo Valley, and seven wickets (2/12 and 5/26) against the same club in the semi-final.
The following weekend he made second top score of 33 to help Ex-Servicemen take the grand final honours against Bomaderry.
Mark's final SDCA game proved to be the 1975-76 semi-final when he took 3/34 against Ulladulla United, but the grand final was a washout and Ex-Servicemen were runners-up.
In five full seasons he had achieved the allrounder's double of 1130 runs (at 22.60) and 116 wickets (at 9.45) with the club's first grade side, along with 30 catches.
At the time of Ex-Servos' jubilee, his bowling average was the best of that select group.
Leaving the Shoalhaven, he would play out his career in the Monaro but always kept in touch with his cricketing mates in this district.
He became associated with the Gentlemen of Nowra Eleven and accompanied by his wife Trish, went on Golden Oldies tours to the United Kingdom, Barbados, South Africa and New Zealand.
The GONE members recall him as "an extraordinary character" who initiated annual fixtures against the Cooma Cobwebs.
His funeral will be held on Tuesday, April 12 at St Patrick's Catholic Church in Cooma at 1pm.
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