Phil Hughes Funeral Jason Greg Michael Clarke Aaron Finch
Jason (L) and Greg (R), the brother and father of Phil Hughes, acts as pallbearers alongside Michael Clarke and Aaron FinchReuters

What better way to farewell the farm boy who never stopped cracking a smile and brought so much brightness to the sport of cricket than with song "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me."

That Elton John song rang through the sports hall at the Macksville High School as Phil Hughes' casket was carried out following a funeral which was poignant, emotional, tugged at your heartstrings and something that will never leave your memory.

Phil Hughes will be looking up from wherever he is looking from, wondering what the fuss is all about, but after several eulogies and stories and tributes, there was not a single person in the room or the millions watching the telecast live left with a dry eye.

The greatest tributes of them all came via Hughes' close friend and Australia skipper Michael Clarke, who showed once again just why he is one of the most respected persons in the sport.

Fighting back tears himself, he spoke about their friendship, their conversations in the middle and cows, because, after all, Hughes second love, after cricket, was cows.

"He would spend every spare moment thinking about his cattle, researching genetics and planning his next move," Hughes' close friend and fellow cattle breeder Corey Ireland said while delivering his eulogy.

"He didn't get a lot of time to spend with his cattle during his cricket career but he loved that he could share his special passion with his father, Greg.

"He had the passion, determination and desire to succeed. He had a good eye for cattle and had the makings of an outstanding cattleman.

"I learnt that he was handy on the cricket pitch, but our conversations were about cattle. The thing we loved about Hughesy was that he instantly fitted into our family.

"Cattle breeding is a lot like cricket," added Ireland while speaking about Hughes' company 408 Angus which he started with his father. "You have to work hard, stick to a plan, show consistency and predictability, and strength will see you through.

"Hughesy, I make a promise to you today mate, I will keep your dream alive."

Hughes' immediate family also spoke, with his elder brother Jason, who he shared a great cricketing passion with, promising his younger brother he would get back to playing the game again. Jason also spoke of the final match that the two siblings played together, a first grade game where they put on a partnership 210 runs, before ending with: "Now it's time to say goodbye bro, I miss you. Love, your big brother Jase."

Megan, Hughes' younger sister, spoke about had never let his head grow big despite becoming an international cricketer, and how he was always a country boy at heart.

"I am so honoured to call you my brother, my best friend and my hero," she said. "Your presence will never leave the people who love and adore you. I will always remember and admire that you never changed or became someone different while your life and career was progressing.

"I promise I will speak to you ever day. Until next time, I love you big brother."

Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland also spoke, invoking pictures of young kids across Australia chasing that dream of becoming a cricketer and playing for your country – something that India, and indeed every country can identify with – which Hughes did with aplomb.

"Mere words are woefully inadequate at times like this," said Sutherland. "But if the life of Phillip Hughes demonstrated one thing, it is this -- a great deal can be packed into a very short time if you have talent, passion and big adventurous spirit.

"Ever since Bradman the image of the innocent country boy playing in the backyard while dreaming of the Baggy Green cap has become entrenched in our psyche. It is our foundation myth as a cricketing nation.

"And Phillip loved that dream. His journey from the backyard to Baggy Green 408 (his Test number) personified the Australian cricketing dream. Phillip's joy in playing his natural game was evident to all."

There were cricketers from far and wide present at the funeral, with the entire Australia Test team, Sean Abbott, who has been given tremendous support, past greats Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara and Richard Hadlee, to name just a few, all showing their support.

Also present were players from the India squad, led by stand-in skipper Virat Kohli and team director Ravi Shastri, all walking behind the coffin as Hughes was carried across the town of Macksville, the town which made him into the great human being, before allowing him to blossom into a cricketer of world renown, a cricketer, who will now forever be missed but never forgotten.

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