John Sadler plays his last match for Hoylandswaine today – but he is certainly leaving them on a high.
The 31-year-old skippered the Haigh Lane club to the Drakes Premiership last year and has followed up this time with the Sykes Cup, the T20 Trophy and the big one – the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy.
It’s a fantastic way to end his three-year spell at the club and to concentrate on three things – his family, his coaching business and returning to his first club, Ossett, in the Central Yorkshire League.
The priorities come in that order as Sadler has daughters aged four years and the youngest just eight months and he is intent on not playing as much Saturday-Sunday cricket.
“My family situation now is very different to when I was younger and that’s at the heart of my decision,” said Sadler, who has over 900 league and cup runs this summer.
“When you are playing in the Huddersfield League and you’ve got a successful side you play a hell of a lot of cricket, a great deal of Saturday-Sunday full weekends and it doesn’t give you much time to spend with a young family.
“The time is just right for me, and I always said I wanted to go back and finish my career at Ossett, my hometown club and the place which gave me a real good start in the game 15 or 16 years ago.
“I left there to join the Yorkshire Academy and I’ve loved being a professional cricketer ever since, but it’s nice to go full circle and give a little bit back.
“I have loved my time at Hoylandswaine, it’s been absolutely great, and I’m sure in the next few years there will be times when I’m frustrated I’m not in such a good side.
“But my wife and kids can be more of a part of things at Ossett, our local club, and it’s where my coaching business is based so the move will help with that as well.”
Hoylandswaine are now tasked with finding a skipper to match Sadler’s impressive list of honours and, indeed, with trying to build on the title of Yorkshire champions.
Sadler, meanwhile, can look back with pride on his achievements in league cricket, which run superbly alongside a County career with Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire including 223 top-level matches in Championship, ODI and T20 action.
“I’ve been very fortunate and delighted to have had the career I’ve had at County level and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at all my clubs,” he added. “Ossett are playing in the Central Yorkshire League Premier, so it’s a decent standard, and they are quite a traditional club.
“They have had a lot of success over the years but, at the moment, they are a bit of a sleeping giant and really just need a bit of a culture change to get things going again.
“They do have a good side, though, and I know I’ll enjoy myself, but the main reason for making the move now is my family and my business.
“I think we played 12 or 13 full weekends out of 21 in the Huddersfield League, which is a lot, and there are also 26 league matches in the Drakes Premiership compared with just 22 in the Central Yorkshire Premier.”
In addition to playing in the Bradford League with Undercliffe for two years (when he was with Yorkshire) and Hanging Heaton (Leicestershire), he has played in the Drakes League for Kirkburton and Holmfirth in addition to Swaine.
“I played sort of ‘as and when’ I could for Kirkburton and Holmfirth, but I loved my time at both clubs because I met good people and we had some good times,” he added.
“And with Hoylandswaine we’ve had a fantastic time and a lot of success, so I’ve had a good taste of the Huddersfield League and what it’s about.
“Winning the Black Sheep was great, a big day for the club and for a lot of the lads who had not won that competition before, but it’s time now to move on and spend more time with the family and more time focusing on my coaching business.”
Sadler runs JS Cricket, which can be found on the web, and offers a full range of coaching courses and sessions, including one-to-one tutoring and winter and summer camps, plus video analysis and schools’ work.
“When I went to Hoylandswaine it was just as a batsman, but when the chance came to take over as captain last year I jumped at it,” he added.
“It was a fantastic opportunity and it’s been really great, something I have really enjoyed.
“Hoylandswaine is a great club, despite what a lot of people seem to think.
“We do get a bit of stick, but that’s the same for any team who are successful at any level. Everyone wants to beat us, and that’s fine.
“But in terms of how the club works and the people there – it’s fantastic and it’s been great to be a part of.
“There is a wonderful group of people who spend many, many hours trying to make it all function and they are really passionate about their club and about the cricket.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Hoylandswaine and the people there and it’s been a great chapter in my career – one I will look back on with very fond memories.”