WORCESTER Warriors’ life president Cecil Duckworth led the tributes to former operations director Mike Robins who has died after a brave battle against cancer.

Robins - known as ‘Scoop’ from his days reporting on first XV matches - played for Worcester as an enthusiastic back row forward in the fourths and fifths in the amateur era.

He also established the mini and junior section before the club moved to Sixways from Bevere in the early 1970s and was a key figure in the transition from amateur to professional status in the mid-1990s.

“Mike did a very good job in managing various ground projects,” said Duckworth.

“He knew all the officers from the amateur club and accepted that there had to be a different approach when the game went professional.

“In his playing days when players weren’t paid for playing, players helped out in all sorts of jobs around the club.

“That ceased when the players started to be paid but Mike handled the transition very well and he continued to support the club.

“He then became operations director and he organised boxing tournaments more or less single-handed in the indoor centre which were both very popular and also made quite a contribution to our coffers.”

When former director of rugby Phil Maynard arrived at Sixways in the early 1990s, Worcester were a Midlands Two club but made rapid progress through the leagues.

On-field progress was matched by off-field developments at Sixways with Robins a pivotal figure in the construction of the West Stand and the state-of-the-art indoor training centre which transformed the ground.

Having served Warriors in a voluntary capacity, Robins moved into a paid role with the club which coincided with Warriors winning promotion to what is now the Gallagher Premiership for the first time.

“’Scoop’ – as Mike was known to everyone, was chairman when I first joined Worcester and was a great help and support to me,” said Maynard.

“He called everyone ‘Ern’ which was another endearing feature.

“When I asked him why he did that he said ‘I call everyone Ern because these days I can’t remember names’.

“Mike became a good friend and was a good bloke.

“When we had it hard on the pitch, he would put his arm around you and have a beer with you.

“He was on-task all the time when we started developing the ground and as we grew, he grew with it.

“He was a key figure in all the developments in the early stages. One thing he never did was to lose sight of what Worcester was about.”

Robins died aged 73 after battling against cancer.

His elder brother Dave Robins, 77, said: “He put in a lot of sterling work into Worcester Rugby Club when they went from the Championship into the Premiership. He was a special brother.

“He will be sadly missed.”