CHESTER Boughton Hall captain Jim Gillson bid a fond farewell to his club on Saturday after signing off the season with a win.
Gillson, who has spent the last five years at Filkins Lane, is emigrating to New Zealand next month with his family.
He led the club for the final time in Saturday’s away victory over Neston.
The 41-year-old, from Littleton, said: “I never envisaged being captain at Boughton Hall. I have had a fantastic time and leaving comes with a degree of sadness.
“I am nearly 42 and my body is telling me I’m not 15 years old any more.”
Gillson joined Boughton Hall from another local club, Christleton, in 2007.
Reflecting on his time at Filkins Lane, he said: “We have done well. We finished runners-up this season in the league and it was great to win the Cheshire County League Twenty20 Trophy last season. My main highlight over the last 12 months in particular would be Freddie Flintoff visiting the club and having an interview with him at the sportsmen’s dinner.
“I hope to have left a legacy in the juniors. We have a number of them coming through the side and as captain I feel there is a responsibility to ensure children get interested in taking up cricket. My children, Will and Ben, played in the under 7s and Alex in the U9s, and it is a lovely thing to see them coming through the side.
“I have had some great times at the club and I hope the next generation can have as much fun playing cricket as I have had.”
But although Gillson is moving to the New Zealand town of Nelson, he hasn’t completely ruled out a return to Boughton Hall.
“I am still keeping my business interests in the UK and will be coming back now and then, so I might play the odd over 40s game,” he said.
Boughton Hall chairman Jim Law praised Gillson’s contribution, saying: “Jim has been a terrific captain. There is a huge amount of work to do on and off the pitch and Jim has been superb.
“He has been a father figure to the kids and has brought out the best in them. He played cricket with a smile on his face and the will to win.”
Chester’s 2nd XI completed a satisfactory season under Andy Pembroke with a home draw with Neston 2nds and Pete Balac’s 3rd XI completed their campaign with a win over Neston 4ths to finish as runner-up.
Phil Evans’ 4ths ended a satisfactory year with a mid-table finish after their final match against Oxton was abandoned due to bad light.