William David McCart, or Billy as he was known, was born in Millpark on May 21, 1939.
Billy did not stray too far from his roots, but peacefully passed away recently at his home in Tullylish just a stone’s throw, or even a cricket ball’s throw, from his childhood house.
Cricket, or more precisely Millpark Cricket Club, was to dominate his life from his early years to his latter ones.
Like many budding sport stars he began young, making his senior debut at the age of nine. By the time he had retired from playing in his mid 50s he had achieved the cricketer’s dream double. He scored 106 playing away at Albert Foundry, a Belfast club no longer in existence.
But an even greater achievement was that of 10 wickets in a game away at Carrickfergus in a cup match and if Millpark had held their catches he would have taken 13 wickets that day. His figures of 10-14 would have been even more impressive if one of the Carrick batsmen had not launched him for a huge six.
Billy was to be a mainstay of the club and was known affectionately by many as Mr Millpark. As well as being a player, he captained the firsts and seconds many times throughout his career, was club groundsman and held the post of chairman for a considerable period. He has been a constant at Banford Green whether at nets or during matches. Always keen to give words of encouragement or coaching tips, Billy’s particular favourite was ‘watch the ball’.
While Millpark Cricket Club was a passion, he was also a family man. He married Agnes Clydesdale from Banbridge on December 21, 1957 and quickly roped her in to make the teas at the club, a job she still does with distinction.
His older brother Joseph is also a keen follower of Millpark and when they were not at Banford Green, the pair of them were to be found at Kernan or Corbet Loughs where they fished for many an hour.
Billy’s family gave him great delight in his later years, especially his great grandchildren, who he loved to see running around his house.
Another passion of Billy’s was football. Despite the fact his father, David, played for Portadown, Billy ended up following Glenavon and before ill health set in attended games regularly. Indeed he was a pretty handy player in his day too. Manchester United were his other team and again he visited Old Trafford on many occasions over the years.
He and Agnes enjoyed travelling and visited Australia, New Zealand and USA many times staying with members of the extended family especially during retirement.
Billy began his working life at the age of 14 as an apprentice engineer in Cowdry’s. The majority of his career however, was to be spent working on the Gilford to Portadown Road at King Packaging where he worked for 35 years before retiring aged 60.
Family and sport played the major role’s in Billy’s life and for the many who were fortunate enough to meet him the word gentleman was the one that they used to describe him. Billy had an infectious smile and was always prepared to lend a helping hand. Every sports club has their stalwart, their dyed in the wool member, and for Millpark Cricket Club it was Billy McCart. He is quite simply irreplaceable and his like will probably never be seen again. The word legend has become a little overused in recent years, but for Billy McCart, the word is very apt, he was a Millpark Cricket Club legend.
Billy has been survived by his devoted wife Agnes and his elder brother Joseph, as well as his three sons and partners, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Donations if desired payable to Poots and Son, Funeral Directors, 42 Bridge Street, Portadown, BT63 5AE on behalf of Tullylish Parish Church and Marie Curie.