Ray Flood, a much-loved former Hampshire cricketer, has passed away, aged 78, following a six-month battle against cancer.

Born in Southampton, he made most of his 24 first-class appearances for the county in 1959 under Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie’s captaincy alongside the likes of Roy Marshall, Jimmy Gray, Henry Horton, Denis Baldry, Peter Sainsbury, Leo Harrison, Derek Shackleton and Vic Cannings.

Ray batted mostly at No 5, scoring 885 runs at 23.28 for Hampshire after making his debut under Desmond Eagar in 1956, when the County Championship was still contested on uncovered pitches.

A right-handed batsman, he scored five fifties and one first-class century, an unbeaten 138 against a Sussex side including Ted Dexter, Jim Parks and Robin Marlar at Hove in 1959.

After being released by Hampshire a year before the 1961 County Championship triumph following a debilitating knee injury, he worked as a window cleaner in Lyndhurst, where he lived for most of his life.

He also played for Lyndhurst CC for more than 30 years and, more recently, was president of Swan Green CC in Emery Down.

Ray passed away in his sleep at Hartwood House, a care home in Lyndhurst, this morning, having been diagnosed with liver cancer in September.

One of eight brothers, Ray was from a formidable sporting family.

He is survived by four of his siblings; Bill, Morris, Brian and John, who played 129 games for Saints from 1952-58.

A widower, who was married to Iris for more than 40 years, Ray leaves three children; two sons, Kevin and Andrew, daughter Geraldine and five grandchildren; Paul, Zoe, Veronica, Bronwen and Elenor.

Kevin said: “Dad loved his cricket and played as long as he could, averaging an impressive 50 at the age of 50 as an opening batsman for Lyndhurst in the Hampshire League’s old County One.

“It is comforting to know he is now free of pain and at peace.”

Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.