TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular sportsman who has been found dead at an address in Kingsteignton.
Phillip Blackmore (above), 38 and a former captain of the South Devon Cricket Club in Newton Abbot, was discovered dead in a garage at Yew Tree Drive on Sunday night.
Police and an ambulance crew were called to the property, where Mr Blackmore had been staying, after receiving a 999 call just before 10pm.
Mr Blackmore, a maintenance worker at Channings Wood prison near Newton Abbot, was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
A police spokesman said yesterdaythat formal identity of the deceased had not yet been carried out. He added that there were no suspicious circumstances. South Devon coroner Ian Arrow has been informed.
An inquest, to take formal evidence of identity only, is expected to open later this week.
A full inquest is expected to be held at a later date.
Mr Blackmore, married with a young son, was well known in cricket circles (see back page). He had played for several clubs, including Paignton and Abbotskerswell, where younger brother Matthew had a spell as captain.
Matthew Blackmore, who now plays for South Devon CC, said he was still coming to terms with his brother's death.
"All I can say right now is his family will always be proud of him and will miss him forever," said Matthew.
Barry Widdicombe, the South Devon CC chairman, said the club had been left reeling by the news of Mr Blackmore's death.
"Phil had been at the club for so many years he was part of the fixtures and fittings," said Mr Widdicombe.
"This has come as a complete shock to all of us.
"He was a quiet man who took his cricket seriously and liked to do his talking out on the pitch.
"Small clubs like ours do not function without people such as Phil, who don't just play but do some of the other jobs that need doing, like coaching and taking net sessions.
"Our thoughts are with his wife, son, brother and mother at this difficult time for them all."
Herald Express cricket correspondent Conrad Sutcliffe, a life member and veteran player at South Devon CC, played with Mr Blackmore for more than 20 years. He said his old club-mate would be remembered with affection by all who knew him.
"Phil was one of those people who represented everything that is good about the game of cricket," said Mr Sutcliffe.
"He played it hard, but fair, and never forgot you were doing it for enjoyment.
"Phil wanted to win and wouldn't take defeat without a fight. I can think of numerous games when his sheer bloody mindedness saved us from a heavy defeat.
"Over the past few years he had started bringing his young son to matches. If Phil wasn't out on the pitch, the two of them would probably be playing bat and ball somewhere around the boundary.
"He was a hugely popular figure in the dressing room and around the club. The place won't seem the same without him."
Away from the cricket pitch, Mr Blackmore was a keen angler and was a member of the Newton Abbot Fishing Association and liked to fish at Rackerhayes Ponds in Kingsteignton.
Friend Max Palmer said Mr Blackmore liked the peace and quiet of the riverbank more than anything else.
"Phil was a lovely bloke and it is a darn shame that he has died," said Mr Palmer, who is a member of the fishing association committee.
"He wasn't into match fishing, or anything like that, but enjoyed fishing for the relaxation it gave him."