A POPULAR young sportsman and father who excelled in cricket and squash has died aged 28.

Shocked friends and teammates led the tributes to Chris Allinson, from Guisborough, after he died suddenly overnight on Wednesday, November 7.

Mr Allinson, a father-of-one, was a well-known and much-loved figure on the North Yorkshire and South Durham ECB League circuit, giving his time as a player and a coach to junior teams.

Tributes have flooded social media since his death last week, including former England cricketer Michael Vaughan.

A statement from Marton Cricket Club, where he was a member, said: "Tragic, devastating news on the passing of Chris Allinson, an extremely talented cricketer and sportsman.

"He joined Marton Cricket Club last season and immediately settled in well with the first team but also often giving up Friday nights to help out with junior coaching.

"He was a true gentlemen, respectful, and had a strong inner desire to see things were done right.

"Chris had a great sense of humour, often giving it out but also could take a joke as well. Chris also had a sensitive side – he wanted to give back to the game, what it had given him, he played with his heart and soul, and paraded this proudly.

"He was going to play at Marton again next summer, and we will miss him immensely, on and off the pitch."

Laurence Jackson School paid tribute to its former pupil: "Chris was a hugely popular student at LJS due to his infectious, bubbly and cheeky personality; superb sense of humour; and the level of respect he showed to everyone. As a sportsman, he was undoubtedly one of the best to come through the school.

"Any sport Chris turned his hand to he excelled at, especially cricket and squash, where he achieved many local, regional and national honours.

"Our heartfelt thoughts are with his family and friends at this time, from all at Laurence Jackson School past and present, it is an honour to call you one of our own."

Mr Allinson also represented Guisborough, Stokesley and Great Ayton, scoring nearly 7,000 runs in the NYSD League.

Stokesley Cricket Club added: "A brilliantly talented sportsperson and well-loved personality right across the North East.

"As a cricketer he always wore his heart on his sleeve and was an invaluable addition to all of the teams he represented."

Mr Allinson was a keen squash player and a member of Guisborough Squash Club, for whose second team he appeared on Wednesday evening.

Markse Cricket Club said: "Words cannot do this passing justice, a wonderful man taken far too soon.

"Chris joined Marske as club professional in the season of 2009 and made an instant impression on the field scoring 1,107 runs at an average of 41 including seven half centuries and three centuries.

"Known for his entertaining and easy on the eye batting style, he continued to set the league on fire for a further two seasons at Windy Hill Lane.

"Marske were privileged to watch him blaze 3,104 runs over his three seasons at the club with his most memorable knock coming against Bishop Auckland where he hit 194 – the league's eighth highest individual score.

"He also amassed 98 wickets for the club including best figures of five for 60 against Hartlepool.

"‘Allo’ was genuinely one of the nicest gentleman you could meet. His love and passion for the game was infectious alongside his friendly personality made him such a popular and loveable person."