FORMER York Rugby League favourite and local cricket stalwart Denzil Webster has passed away, aged 75.

Webster, a speedy centre in his rugby days, played 59 games for York after signing in a big money move from hometown club Castleford in the 1956/7 season.

He retired due to injury in the 1958/9 season, after scoring 34 tries for the Clarence Street club.

He had previously been selected to represent Yorkshire in 1955, and his performances at Wheldon Road also saw him inducted in Castleford’s official Hall of Fame, which says: “His strike rate of 63 tries in a mere 98 games for the club was testament to his blistering pace and undoubted skill.”

Castleford offered Webster a professional contract having watched him starring for the Army representative side during his National Service.

Webster, who had lived in Acomb since 1956 and was a PE teacher at Danesmead Secondary School in York, remained involved in rugby league and went on to become president of York Wasps from the mid-1990s until 2001.

He was also secretary and president for many years of the York RL Past Players’ Association until retiring three years ago.

Webster was also a fine cricketer, having played for Castleford in the Yorkshire League as a schoolboy.

When he moved to York for his teacher training, Webster initially played for York Cricket Club, although the knee injury that ended his rugby league career also curtailed his cricketing activities.

From 1961, Webster played for Acomb and went on to captain the side for more than a decade.

An all-rounder, he led them to their first top-flight championship in the York & District Senior Cricket League in 1978 and later became chairman of the club, for whom his son, John, also played.

He was also president of the league from 1998 to 2000 and remained an honorary life vice-president up to his death.

Webster was inducted into the league Hall of Fame last November.

Former Acomb team-mate Bill Carter said: “Denzil was an example to everyone and much admired by all he played with and against.

“It’s a blow for Acomb as a club and for sport in general around York.”

League secretary Albert Pattison said: “Over a long career he made a major contribution to cricket at both Acomb Cricket Club and throughout the York Senior League and will be sorely missed.

“The league’s thoughts are with Doreen and the rest of his family.”

Stuart Evans, a York RL historian, said: “He actually taught me at Danesmead School.

“He was well thought of at York by young and old alike, especially those who knew him well.”

Webster leaves a widow, Doreen, son, John, and two grandchildren.