Outgoing Clitheroe Cricket Club chairman Robin Sharp believes the future is bright at Chatburn Road
The new season was also the start of a new era behind the scenes at Chatburn Road - with Robin finally retiring from a position he has held since 1986.
He has seen many changes during that time - notably the move to the Lancashire League two years ago which was swiftly followed by a league and cup double.
His long service has been recognised with life membership at the club - while a bench with a plaque outlining his contribution will take pride of place at Chatburn Road.
Robin said: “I certainly didn’t sign up to be chairman for his length of time - but it always seemed that nobody else wanted to take over.
“My son Marcus always said that I liked to be in charge - and maybe he’s right.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed holding such a position over the years - but it felt like the time was right for a change.
“However in retiring, I’d like to thank all those people who have helped and supported me at the club over the last three-and-a-bit decades.”
Looking back at the most notable moments of his time at the helm, Robin picked out the club’s departure from the Ribblesdale League ahead of the 2017 season.
He said: “We had won the Ribblesdale League four years in a row - an achievement we were all very proud of - and the feeling was it was time for a new challenge.
“The opportunity came along to move to the Lancashire League and in the end we were happy to accept it.
“And, of course, the club won the title and T20 double in its first year - which was an incredible achievement.”
The other big change during his tenure has been the rapid development of the youth section of the club - which has been a huge benefit to the club.
Robin said: “I must pay tribute to Farouk Hussain because he set the wheels in motion for such a big improvement in junior cricket at Clitheroe. It has been transormed from a pedestrian operation into the vibrant and active section of the club that it is now - with more than 100 young players involved.
“It is now one of the most successful junior cricket set-ups in the North West. So I’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in making it such a success.
“There’s no doubt the club has benefited hugely from it in recent years and will continue to do so.
“We have lads who are now playing in - or knocking on the door of - the first XI. And there are others who are now a big part of the administration and management.”
Diane Bush has stepped down as secretary after more than two decades, while Simon Westhead has also retired as president.
Stepping into their shoes going forward will be Simon Dawson as chairman, Louise Lang as secretary and Amanda Hall as president.
Robin said: “It’s a very different club to the one I played for and became chairman of back in the mid-80s.
“Through those 33 years, I’ve only ever had three treasurers and three secretaries, so there has been a feeling of continuity at the club.
“But it feels like a new era now both for Clitheroe and for the Lancashire League and it’s the right time for some new faces.”
Despite standing down, Robin plans to be a regular visitor to Chatburn Road - particularly as his son Marcus is still playing for the first XI.
And the former opening bowler has no doubt the club will continue to prosper both on and off the field in the future.
He added: “The administration and management team have been so successful in taking the club forward.
“it is now a real community facility - attracting families and young people who enjoy the sports and social activities in such a pleasant and fulfilling environment.
“From my point of view, it is such a pleasure to see so many people enjoying the facilities on offer at the club.
“Cricket matches at Chatburn Road are now a great family day out - weather permitting, of course - and long may that continue.
“I’m looking forward to being there to watch some good cricket - without having the responsibility that comes with being chairman.”