Lee Paxman is leaving Huddersfield Rugby Union Club at the end of this season after 10 years of loyal service.
The 31-year-old has been player, coach and latterly first-team manager at Lockwood Park and has helped take the club to the brink of promotion back to National II North.
News of Paxman’s impending departure comes in the wake of Saturday’s National III North victory at Billingham and ahead of this coming Saturday’s home clash against Percy Park when a win could clinch the title.
Huddersfield will round off their campaign against Sandal at Lockwood Park on Saturday, April 26 – the date Paxman will take a step back from the club which has been a massive part of his life.
“I’ve decided to make a complete break, so Sandal will be my last match with hopefully a promotion attached – that would be great,” said Paxman.
“When I took over a year ago it was with the hope of us bouncing back after the previous season, we are building at the club and that work will continue.
“Gareth Lewis is doing a great job as first-team coach and will continue to do so, but I don’t feel I have the time to put in the necessary commitment at National level because of my work, which involves a lot of travel.
“I know Mark Sowerby really well and he did such a good job here, but you do run out of steam. It takes so much time and effort and you don’t get a release. As a player you can go away and forget about rugby until the next training session or the next match, but on this side you can’t and you need the time to be able to deal with that.”
Paxman joined Huddersfield a decade ago under Mike Lumley when he was still at university and has been a popular figure at the club every since.
His playing career eventually finished after what he described as “a shed load of injuries” and over the past 12 months he’s made a big impact as manager.
“I’ve really enjoyed it despite the difficulites in finding time, and I know there are good plans in place to keep the club moving forward, so I think it’s the right time to step down,” he added.
“It will be good to take a complete break away from rugby and then I can see how I feel. You never know, maybe some time down the line I will come back in some capacity or other.”
While the senior side have the home matches against Percy Park and Sandal to look forward to, Huddersfield Colts will play the Yorkshire Cup final against West Park Leeds on Sunday, April 27, when the club are aiming for a bumper attendance.
Huddersfield YMCA rounded off their regular season matches in North I East with a 40-15 hom win against Old Crossleyans. Report and pictures tomorrow.