DAVID Wheatman, the Cumberland and Netherfield Cricket Club fast bowler, died aged 38, on Sunday in St John's Hospice, Lancaster following a two-year battle against cancer.

David lived in Kendal with his partner Maria, daughter Lee-Anne and is survived by his mother Doreen, sister Liz and half-brothers Brian, Phil and Chris.

Educated at Kendal Grammar School, he was an insurance executive at Talbot Insurance Brokers, in Old Shambles, specialising in arranging business insurance.

The funeral service took place at Kendal Parish Church at 1.15pm on Monday, November 1 followed by a private cremation.

NETHERFIELD CC secretary Ian Heath writes: "Netherfield Cricket Club this week mourns the loss of one of its finest.

"Finest, because David was not only one of the finest exponents of left-arm quick bowling, but also one of the finest people you could wish to meet, both on the field and off it.

"He was a kind and generous person well respected and loved by his team-mates and opponents alike.

"He joined the club as a 13-year-old and made his first team debut in 1985, going on to take 500 wickets in a career that lasted until the onset of his illness at the end of the 2002 season.

I first came across him in 1979 when he joined the club as a 13 year old. That season he played in the U17's and made one appearance in the 3rdXI as a batsman, never his greatest attribute!

The following year he was part of a strong U15 Westmorland League side that were runners up in the League Trophy for 2 years and also the Cup in 1980.After another 3 years learning his craft he moved up to the 2nds but did'nt stay there long as it was clear that he was a bit special and the following year, 1985, he made his 1stXI debut.That year he completed what was probably a unique double in that he played in 2 winning Cup Finals in successive weeks.The 2ndXI game was washed out and played the next week at Blackpool and after taking 2-12 in the 1st's Final, he destroyed Blackpool 2nds with 5-24 much to Roy Booth's chagrin.

That was his 1stXI career launched, and he went on to take over 500 wickets in a career that lasted until the onset of his illness at the end of the 2002 season.

If he was still with us he would have been playing today. He was a fit lad and enjoyed the camaraderie and competitiveness of 1stXI cricket.

I remember ribbing him about the young lads, Stuart Nixon and Ryan Wilson coming through to replace him. He would have none of it and said that he was "going to the gym 3 to 4 times a week to stay fit and if that's what it takes to remain in the side I'm prepared to do it". That showed the pride and dedication of a rare, if declining, breed.

His Trophy cabinet will be full. He was in sides that won 10 County Meageen Cups,4 Northern League Championships,5 Northern League Cups, 1 Lancashire KO at Old Trafford.

Like most fast bowlers he thought he could bat, but he managed a top score of only 29 and finished with 750 1stXI runs at an average of 7.22.

However, I'm sure St Peter will welcome him at the "Pearly Gates" and ask him which end he wants. We will all miss you at Netherfield, both players and spectators alike.

Hughie Evans, captain of Netherfield in the late 70s/80s when David came to the club, said: "I remember David starting as a very raw recruit - when he came he didn't have a proper pair of boots and wore odds socks.

"He was tall for his age and was quite a quick bowler and, being left-arm over, he complemented the other bowlers in the side and gave us an edge.

"We were keen to bring him into the first team very quickly and his elevation was quite a surprise at the time, but he was so reliable and consistent and never let us down.

"Looking at him you wouldn't think he was a quick bowler because he had no real aggression or a nasty sort of person in any way at all.

"He was the quickest bowler in the club, had a habit of nipping out opening batsmen and he played a vital part in our dominance of the Cumbria Cup at that time.

"When I became a Minor Counties umpire I met up with David again about four years ago when officiating at a Cumberland match against the Lancashire Cricket Board.

He was the pick of all the bowlers - and I can tell you that among the players on the Lancashire side that day were James Anderson and Kyle Hogg."

Tommy Prime, Netherfield's current captain said: "He was everybody's friend but a great competitor with an intense desire to get wickets it didn't matter if it was No. 1 or No. 11.

"We were both members of the MCC and had many happy times travelling and playing for them.

"I do remember he always without fail brushed his teeth before he went out to field - he told me that he did that because he didn't want to have bad breath when he appealed to the umpire."

Another former Netherfield captain and friend Dave Otway said: "He always bowled at the Castle End and his salute when he got a wicket was raising his two arms in the air and doing a little jig.

"His dress sense was the loudest you can imagine - he wore the most outrageous coloured shirts and he was always the first to the banking with the shades and the shorts if we we're batting.

"One of the performances I remember was in the semi-final of the league cup at Blackpool about five years ago as Netherfield were chasing and losing wickets throughout.

"He sat calmly before batting and said there was never going to be a problem and went out with three balls to go and five runs needed.

"He patted the first one back down the pitch and then hit the next out of the ground for a six."

Netherfield's former skipper and stalwart Grahame Clarke said: "He was the nicest man I ever met and I know nobody who had a bad word to say about him.

"He very nearly apologised whenever he appealed for lbw.

"There was an occasion when we were playing Chorley that he beat the bat so consistently that we just had to keep him on for 24 overs non-stop.

"We bowled them out for 90 and boy was he tired coming into tea, but he just got on with the job. I want to remember him as a fit, strong, young fellow playing cricket with us on a summer's day."

Kendal Cricket Club skipper Dave Fallows said: " You always looked to see if his name was on the teamsheet, firstly because you knew as you walked out to bat he would give you a genuine smile, but secondly you would think of what a high-quality bowler you would have to face.

"In the past I am reliably informed that in some heated derby games one man above all from both sides always kept his dignity, high standards and great sense of humour 100 per cent of the time: David Wheatman will be hugely missed."