There is little doubt that when it comes to producing characters of the game, the North West Cricket Union has few peers.

They are in every club and in every 'Critics Corner' of our grounds, and arguably the prince among men is Connie McAllister.

Instantly recognisable wherever he goes, anyone who has not yet spent an evening in Connie's company really needs to make an appointment.

Connie McAllisterConnie McAllister

A one-club man for the past 60-odd years he enjoyed decades of playing success at Ardmore. A potent left arm spinner he claimed hundreds of wickets in a career that saw him take part in five senior cup finals for the Bleachgreen club.

After he finished playing, Connie donned the white coat and worked his way up the umpiring ranks, joining his old pal Eric Cooke in the International panel in the 1990's. He was a huge hit with the players and his personality shone through both during and after matches.

First to arrive at grounds, impeccably presented as always, and usually last to leave- that was the Connie mantra.

His umpiring career was top quality and it was his ability to talk through issues and decisions that made him the respected figure that he is.

Sir Geoffrey Boycott and Connie McAllisterSir Geoffrey Boycott and Connie McAllister

On a personal note, I umpired my first International match with Connie- Canada v Uganda in 2005. It was a schoolday from morning til night and a day I won't forget.

I also played alongside him in several 'tour' matches in the 80's but I had the good sense to know when I was out of my depth and went back to our hotel before the ante was upped.

Connie has been NWCU President for the past four years and he has been a fantastic servant to the post.

He's happy to dive about doing two or three presentations on the same day if the need arises and when it comes to cricket, nothing is too much trouble.

They definitely threw the mould away when they made him.