TRAGIC circumstances meant Evesham’s scheduled Midlands Three West (South) encounter at Upton was postponed on Saturday.
Upton’s fixture secretary Nigel Banwell, 68, who had been part of the club for more than 30 years, died on Saturday after he collapsed while preparing the pitch for the fixture.
Mr Banwell’s passing has left Upton RFC in devastation following the loss of talented flanker Nathan Tomkins – also known to his friends as ‘Tank’ – who died suddenly on Christmas Eve at the age of 22.
The club was set to honour Nathan with a minute’s silence ahead of Saturday’s match but, because of the shocking events which unfolded, was unable to do so.
Upton Rugby president Maurice Bottomley told the Observer both men were influential figures at the club and would be greatly missed.
“In the space of two weeks the club has lost one of its most gifted players and one of our longest-serving supporters – two truly inspirational figures from different generations, and both true Upton rugby men,” said Mr Bottomley.
“Without such stalwarts rugby would not be the game it is, where people like Nathan and Nigel put themselves out to support others, and enjoy themselves in the company of like-minded people.
“I offer my deepest condolences to both families and know that my fond memories of Tank and Nigel will help me to get through the coming weeks and support me in my life going forwards.
“They are two great men who both died far too early.”
The North Midlands RFU has asked member clubs to hold a minute’s silence before all their matches this weekend in memory of Nigel. Evesham have a home Midlands Senior Vase match against Stewarts & Lloyds on Saturday.
Fourth placed Evesham, who are hopeful of mounting a push for promotion in the second half of the campaign, return to league action at home to Bedworth on January 21.