TRIBUTES have been paid to a dog which has saved Selsey Cricket Club thousands of pounds worth of lost balls thanks to his natural flair for fetching from brambles and ditches.
Sam the dog rescued hundreds of cricket balls and footballs from ditches over the past ten years.
But the well-trained and much-loved black Labrador, who lived with Tommy and Mary Roberts in Selsey High Street, sadly died, aged 13, at the weekend.
Brian Pleasance, a club member who was secretary for 25 years before recently retiring, said Sam would be sorely missed.
“We were really very upset when Tommy came in to tell us. It brought a tear to my eye. We will miss him very much.”
Sam’s retired owner Tommy walked him four or five times every day and he became known by members of the cricket club, as ‘Tommy the dog’.
Tommy bought Sam on a whim on his way home from Ireland ten years ago and said he had been the best dog he could have hoped for,
Brian said players had come to see Sam as their reserve player.
“We knew him as Sam the 12th man. He did a good job for us. Now our costs are probably going to go up,” said Brian.
“It’s a tremendous thing Sam used to do. He’s saved us thousands of pounds over the years.
“They’re expensive things at about £14 each. We we use two in each match so it all adds up.”
Sam also retrieved footballs from the neighbouring football field.
Ricky Haplin, the cricket club’s fixtures secretary, said he thought Sam had an ‘in-built cricket ball radar’.
“Tommy would come back with bags and bags of balls.
“Whenever we lost a ball we would say ‘it’s okay, Tommy and Sam will find them’.”