Mr Malcolm John Sketchley.
A STALWART who played a major role in helping Ventnor become one of the leading cricket clubs in the South, died on Christmas Day, at the age of 67.
Malcolm John Sketchley — known to everyone as 'Sketch’ — moved to the Island almost 30 years ago from the Leicester area, where he was born.
He joined Ventnor CC in 1984 and often spoke with amusement of his first game for the club.
He turned up at Godshill’s ground and, instead of a grass pitch, was bemused to find a concrete strip covered in coconut matting.
"I had never seen anything like it before," he told friends, "and at the age of almost 40, I played my first cricket match in a pair of borrowed plimsolls."
Sketch soon became an integral part of the club, however, and over the years served as chairman, vice-chairman, bar chairman and membership secretary.
On the pitch, he enjoyed considerable success and was one of the few players to have taken 100 wickets for the club in a season and was a member of the highly successful Hampshire League side, which worked its way up through the divisions, eventually achieving Southern League status.
He also represented the Island team in county competitions and was a member of the IW NALGO side which won the union’s national competition.
Sketch was a keen darts player, having represented Leicestershire at county level, and after turning out for the Boniface Arms soon after moving to the Island, he went on to play competitive darts every year for the rest of his life.
He grew up in Leicester and left school at 15 to begin an apprenticeship at Jones and Shipman as a fitter, later becoming a shop steward.
He was made redundant there in the 1980s’ recession.
After moving to the Island, he began working at the IW College as a technician/lecturer, where he pioneered the use of computer-aided machine tools, firstly by teaching himself and then passing on his skills to generations of Island students from local companies.
His long-time friend and team-mate, John Hilsum, said: 'Sketch was a marvellous chap, whose enthusiasm, expertise and wry humour will be hugely missed.’
Sketch leaves children, Chris and Michelle, grandchildren, Alfie, Daisy, Sophia and Anna, and his partner of ten years, Tracey.
A private family service will be held at the IW Crematorium on Tuesday, followed by a service of thanksgiving at St Catherine’s Church, Ventnor, at 1.15pm. This will be followed by a wake at the cricket club.