Peter Denning, who was an ever-present for Somerset throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, has died after a short battle with cancer. He was 57.

Denning, a left-hand top-order batsman, was a solid rather than spectacular player who, nevertheless, was a key member of the one-day side which was such a force from the late 1970s. With his ability to push singles and excellent running between the wickets, he was a key limited-overs opener. However, he played in three winning Lord's finals but failed to make a good score in any of them.

"I played all of my career with Peter, right from the Somerset Under 12s through to the first team," said Brian Rose, the Somerset director of cricket. "During those early years in the first team we were not very strong as a county and we had to struggle, but we both made it and went onto be part of the team in the glory years."

"To me Peter epitomised all that should be good in a professional cricketer. He was hard, stubborn and made it difficult for the opposition - especially when he growled at them. His sad death is a tremendous loss to Somerset cricket."

Denning passed 1000 runs in a season six times, his most successful year being 1979 when he made 1222 runs at 42.13.