Team pays tribute after cricket tragedy

TRIBUTES have been paid to a "number one batsman and number one person" who suddenly died while playing cricket.Patrick Bonfield was batting for Martlesham Nomads against Nacton at Martlesham village green on Saturday when he suddenly collapsed.

TRIBUTES have been paid to a "number one batsman and number one person" who suddenly died while playing cricket.

Patrick Bonfield was batting for Martlesham Nomads against Nacton at Martlesham village green on Saturday when he suddenly collapsed.

Despite efforts to resuscitate him, the 51-year-old from Bucklesham Road, in Ipswich, never regained consciousness and he later died in Ipswich Hospital.

A coroner's report will be made but it is believed that Mr Bonfield died of a heart attack.


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Last night secretary and treasurer of the club, Garry Venn, said his teammate would be "irreplaceable".

He said: "He was a leading figure in the club who people of all ages had a great deal of respect for.

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"He was our number one opening batsman and a number one person."

Mr Venn, from Martlesham, added: "I will remember him as a very good friend. He was somebody who you would listen to as what they say makes sense.

"He was somebody who you could have a good laugh and joke with, share a drink with and get on with.

"I personally will miss him very much. There will be a hole left there that will be difficult to fill, if possible.

"You read things after people have died saying that someone was a fantastic person but I think that genuinely is the case here.

"Sadly it seems the good die young and I think that makes it all the more difficult to really take in or understand.

"He was a loving husband and loving father. His death has left a lot of people devastated."

Mr Bonfield was the opening batsman in Saturday's match between Martlesham Nomads and Nacton in the Medite League Division B.

It was about 2.10pm in the afternoon, the match was five overs old and Mr Bonfield had just hit a four, when he avoided a ball that lifted up.

Mr Venn said: "The ball did not hit him but the next thing that happened was that he turned around and collapsed. People realised that it was serious and shouted for an ambulance to be called.

"The captain, Kevin Goldsmith, rushed over to him and went through the procedures. One of the Nacton players made sure his airways were open and Kevin Goldsmith started to resuscitate him."

One of the players at the match called over their mother, a nurse, who also helped until the ambulance arrived from Ipswich Hospital.

Paramedics carried on with the attempt to resuscitate Mr Bonfield and he was taken into hospital. Sadly he never regained consciousness and he was pronounced dead within an hour of collapsing.

Mr Bonfield was originally from Dorset where his passion for cricket was born. He played around the Swanage area before moving to Essex and playing cricket around Basildon.

He moved to Suffolk ten years ago with his wife Maria and son Daniel, who is aged in his early 20s.

A former manager of The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, in Ransomes Europark, Ipswich, he joined Martlesham Nomads seven years ago.

He was very involved in the club as vice-captain and constructed its website, as well as organising events. He was also named Player of the Year in 2003.

For the last two matches he had been captain and seen his team win on both occasions. The weekend before his death he had been captain against a touring side, Ajax IIIs, from Holland.

John Boast, league chairman, said: "It's always sad when someone plays cricket and dies like this but in some ways that could have been a nice way to go, on the field, if he had the choice.

"We offer our condolences to the next of kin. I did not know him very well but he played in our league and it is obviously very sad. I just hope he enjoyed himself up to then."

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