AFTER over 500 first team games, three years as captain, a couple as vice, and two years as chair of cricket, the curtain has falled on all-rounder James Horne’s Bradford League career with Lightcliffe.
There were mixed emotions for him at his last game as the club has played a big part of his life, and the cricket club has given him much.
He has also given much to the cricket club, in so may ways. It really is the end of an era.
After joining the club as a youngster, and impressing in every level of junior cricket, he soon moved through the ranks and was in the first team as a 16-year-old, under the captaincy of Roger Stead.
His natural, rhythmic bowling action, and Gower-esque cover driving had caught the Silver Fox’s (Stead’s) eye.
He has been a mainstay in the first team ever since; playing under Stead, Simon Brooke, Andy Baxter, Nick Pyrah, Paul Ramsden, Richard Nichols, and latterly Jonathan Wilson.
From 2004-2006 he led the team. The ginger locks have gradually receded over the years, but the talent never has.
Yes, the arm might be a bit lower these days, the reactions slightly reduced, but the march of time has been kind on his cricket.
In most other second division first teams, he would be still be batting top five and bowling regularly.
There have been some notable performances over the years. The 85 not out he scored at Brighouse in 2005 – rescuing the team from one for five and six for six – sticks in the memory.
It was a remarkable innings, saving the club from humiliation and potentially the lowest ever Bradford League total.
In 2001 – probably at his prime – he bagged over 70 wickets to help Lightcliffe get promoted.
He gelled with Pakistani quickie Mobasher Nazir and together they formed a potent new ball attack sharing 150 wickets. It was a memorable year.
He also played with two batting greats, Indian Test batting ace Mohammed Kaif and, latterly Chris Taylor, who both topped 1,000 runs and broke records.
But it was not always the best of times. His period as captain was a difficult spell for the club.
There was a rump of the 2002 team left when he took over in 2004.
That year was a constant battle to get teams out on the park, let alone be competitive.
He stuck to the job gamely, and things were on the turn again when he resigned in 2006. History will recall that the club stabilised during his period as captain.
It has always been the Lightcliffe way to have players come up through the junior ranks, and play alongside each other in the senior teams. Long may that continue.
I am sure he will have a couple of rankles - some personal goals that have not been achieved. Maybe, maybe not. If there are, we will probably never hear about them. It’s always been about the team with James.
Having first played together in the under 12s, it feels strange to be writing these words. The baton is being passed on to a new generation.
James also served the Old Brodleians as a goalkicking fly-half for many a season and was a valued member of the first team.
For now he and his partner Claire head to pastures new in Cambridgeshire with their work, but I am sure, he will be back one day.