Shock at death of former Suffolk cricketer - aged just 47

Russell Catley in action for Suffolk

Russell Catley, left, batting for Suffolk at Ipswich School. Photo: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Former Suffolk opening batsman Russell Catley has died at the age of 47, writes Nick Garnham.
Russell, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2004, passed away on Tuesday, December 1st at Arthur Rank Hospice in Great Shelford, just outside Cambridge, where he was cared for amazingly and compassionately in his final months.
Russell, who made his debut for Suffolk in the Minor Counties Championship just after his 19th birthday, made a total of 63 championship appearances, scoring 2,840 runs at 28.40 with a highest score of 130 not out. He also took 22 wickets at 28.81 with best figures of 4-57. 
He made 25 appearances for Suffolk in the one-day knock-out competition under its various guises, scoring 691 runs at an average of 36.36, with a top score of 82. He claimed two wickets at 28 apiece, with best figures of 2-28.
He also appeared in nine List A matches, scoring 152 runs at 16.88, with a highest score of 65.
When Russell was joined in the Suffolk side by younger brothers Matt and Tim for the Minor Counties Championship match versus Bedfordshire in June 1999, it was the first time that three brothers had played for Suffolk in the same match.
It was also believed to be the first time that this feat had been achieved anywhere in Minor Counties cricket since the Second World War from 1939-45.
Russell, who was born in Cambridge, grew up alongside his two brothers playing for Exning, where father Tony was club secretary and captain, before playing for Old Ipswichian CC and Mildenhall CC.
After he was initially diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2004, Russell battled bravely, courageously and optimistically over the following years and returned to playing with Exning CC for a couple of years before turning out for first Camden CC and then Helions Bumpstead CC. 
Russell, who was also a playing member of the MCC, leaves a wife, Jeanine, and daughter Lucia to whom he was a devoted father and husband. 
A private funeral has been arranged for family and close friends only due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Donations can be made to the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity via the below link: