HYDE has bid farewell to James Duffy who has been described as the cricket club’s greatest-ever home-grown player.
The 37-year-old, who came through the juniors at Werneth Low, is joining Chester Boughton Hall after a remarkable playing stint.
In 481 matches, Duffy scored 16,228 runs which includes 27 hundreds and 103 half centuries with a highest score of 153.
Duffy, who lives in the Chester area, has commuted to Hyde for several seasons, and this influenced his decision to move to a club nearer to home.
Hyde official John Buckley paid tribute to Duffy, saying: “I would like to thank him for almost two decades of his glorious stroke play.
“His record speaks for itself, the club’s highest ever run scorer, the most centuries, most man-of-the- match performances and more medals than any other player in our 120-year history.
“He also captained Cheshire and scored thousands of runs in the Minor Counties Championship.
“More than any of that, he is a very fine young man, and the father of two lovely young children.”
Duffy admitted: “This hasn’t been an easy decision whatsoever. Hyde will always be very close to my heart and will always by my club.
“Travel and the lack of ability to train has been very frustrating at times, and I don’t feel me playing every other week throughout the season is supportive to what is going to be a really strong, young team in the future. I feel am leaving the club in a positive place with some really exciting young talent not only in the first team but throughout the club.”
There is further change as Tom Partridge has stepped down after three years as captain to concentrate on his batting.
Hyde have already appointed his replacement for 2022, Danny Cramner, a key first-team player for the last decade.
A finish to the season saw Hyde finish eighth in the Cheshire County Cricket League’s 12-club premiership after they flirted with the relegation places at one stage.
Buckley said: “It was a good season, especially after a very good second half.
“We finished mid-table and also reached the semi-finals of the Cheshire Cup where we lost to eventual winners Chester Boughton Hall.
“We recorded some notable victories over the summer and achieved our main goal of retaining our premiership status.”
It was a breakthrough season for batsman left-arm spin bowler Charlie Barnard, 16, who was captured from Newton for the 2021 season while Cole Turner has also had a good campaign with both bat and ball.