Cup winning skipper retires

James Clarke bats in Sunday's final
James Clarke bats in Sunday's final

Copley skipper James Clarke has retired, only two days after leading the club to success in the Parish Cup final.

The surprise news emerged today, the 35-year-old all-rounder having told senior players of his decision at the Foster’s Halifax League club last night.

Clarke hit 68 and took one for 43 in Sunday’s 45-run cup final win over favourites Jer Lane at Copley.

It was the club’s second major triumph in eight days after they emerged victorious from the league’s Twenty/20 finals day at SBCI, where Clarke was man of the match in the trophy-clinching success over Booth.

Clarke said today: “I have given retirement quite a bit of thought over the last couple of years and had decided that this was going to be my last year.

“For personal reasons I have brought things forward slightly, and it seems an apt time to finish.

“I had made my decision before last weekend’s final and it is good to go out on a high.”

Clarke has played first team cricket since he was 13, initially in Lincolnshire. He went on to play Minor Counties cricket and for Nottinghamshire seconds.

After moving to Halifax 10 years ago, he had two spells with Undercliffe in the Bradford League and also went to Brighouse CC before his five-season stint with Copley.

“The challenge is not what it used to be and I am going out on my terms,” he said.

“I’ve no intention of playing anywhere else and if I did take up the mantle again it would be at Copley.”

Craig Taylor will take up the reins for Saturday’s Premier Division game, in which Copley face a quick rematch with Jer Lane, who will have ground advantage this time.

Clarke will continue to play at No 8 for Old Rishworthians RUFC, who are based in Copley village.