Paul Gaskell, the most successful captain in Clitheroe Cricket Club’s history, has decided to step down from his post following the club’s exoneration from charges of a breach of Lancashire League rules.
Gaskell, who has led the Chatburn Road club to countless titles in the Ribblesdale Cricket League, before guiding them to the championship and the Twenty20 trophy in their maiden campaign at this level, claimed that the exhaustive investigation had forced his hand.
The skipper can walk away from his position with his head held high having stocked up the club’s collection of silverware and confirmation that the Ribble Valley outfit will enter the 2018 season as defending champions is a befitting end to his reign.
With the dark clouds clearing, and celebrations finally taking place, he said: “We knew that we had done nothing wrong but you naturally worry because you start to fear the worst the longer it goes on. They’ve gone about it fairly throughout the whole process.
“It’s tarnished what we’ve achieved. It was the greatest achievement in the club’s history, stepping up to win the Lancashire League as well as winning the Twenty20 competition. It was a hell of an effort from the lads.
“It was a huge shame that we couldn’t go to the league dinner and celebrate which has taken the shine off it a little bit. It’s a shame that we’ve had to go through what we have.
“A few of us got together since and enjoyed a celebratory drink though. We’re champions, it’s official now, and there isn’t a cloud hanging over us anymore. It’s nice to have got rid of that.”
Gaskell added: “I’m planning on walking away completely after everything that’s happened.
“It’s not been fair on me or my family.
“The season just feels like it’s never ended and we haven’t had a break.
“It’s been so draining.
“I’d considered doing it in previous seasons but this time it just felt like it was the right time to go.
“It’s easier to go when you’re at the top. I didn’t want to stay on too long.
“We’ve got some young lads coming through so it’s a chance for them to come in and develop. It’s sad to go but it’s the right time.
“It’s a good feeling knowing that I can enjoy the cricket alongside everybody else that watches. I wish them all the luck in the world.”
The season opens on April 15th at Haslingden, after the Ron Singleton Colne Trophy clash at Worsley Cup winners Darwen on April 8th.