Tributes from the world of sport and journalism have been paid to Bob Harragan, left, who worked at the Llanelli Star, South Wales Evening Post and South Wales Guardian during a career which began in 1973.
The enthusiastic cricket buff spotted talent including Robert Croft and Simon Jones, who would both go on to play for England, while covering their exploits as junior players.
His last ‘Bits and Bobs’ column for the Ammanford-based Guardian was published just hours after he passed away last month.
“His love of cricket and a childhood in London recovering from the Blitz were subjects to which he often returned, but always to shed new light on the key issues of the day – local, national and global.
“Whether addressing politics, immigration or the role of the state, Bob was often able to cut to the heart of the issue in sideways fashion with a seemingly innocent anecdote about his grandmother’s cooking or Glamorgan’s opening bowlers of the 1980s.
“Bob never shied away from telling it as he saw it, he played with a straight bat and was happy to stand tall in the crease no matter what delivery he faced. He will be sadly missed.”
Essex-born Bob moved to the Llanelli area with his family in 1972 and began working on the Star the following year. He would remain there until 1990.
Former colleague Susan Bailey said: “Bob was an old school journalist. He was meticulous in his research, a healthy sceptic, and like a dog with a bone if he thought he was onto something. Sticking with the canine metaphors, he was also a champion of the underdog.
“Bob was warmed-hearted and kind, and had a strong sense of social justice. He wrote for the Llanelli Star for almost two decades.”
Simon Jones, who played in the famous Ashes-winning England side of 2005, posted his own tribute to Bob on Twitter saying: “A good man, very sad news.”
Former Star sports editor Barrie Thomas added: “”He particularly took a keen interest in local government matters, regularly studying minutes and reports thoroughly.
“His great passion was cricket, and was the most knowledgeable follower of the game I have ever known.
“Bob travelled around the grounds of local cricket clubs, watching it at all levels. He was particularly keen on the progress of players at schools and junior leagues, spotting talent such as Simon Jones and Robert Croft before they became famous.
“He also provided a lasting contribution for the area’s other famous club when he wrote and compiled The History of Llanelli Cricket Club for their 150th anniversary. His cricket contributions will never be forgotten.”