A METAL plaque was presented to cricketer Peter Atkinson at Netherfield Cricket Club’s end of season party as he celebrated 40 years playing for the club.

Atkinson, 59, of Briarigg, Kendal, first played for the club aged nine but returned after a four-year spell with Kendal, and 40 years on he has knocked up almost 8,000 runs and 250 wickets for the club.

He said: “As a kid we went down to see the pro SK Gadari. When I left school though I went to Kendal CC but I always knew I would return to Netherfield. My first game was against Leyland and coincidentally my last game this season came against Leyland.

“In my first season I never even played on the winning side, as the first team lost in the first half of the season and when I played for the seconds in the second half we never won either.”

But things didn’t stay like that for Atkinson, who went on to captain the second and third team, which won a divisional title under his leadership.

He added: “I started for the club properly in 1972 as a batsman but during the last few years I have been more of a bowler, being used as and when I’ve been called upon.

“The most disappointing thing for me was that I was never really good enough for the first team. I held down a regular place in the seconds and thirds though, but I won’t stop playing until my body tells me to.”

Speaking of his dedication to the club he added: “Netherfield has one of the best grounds in the northern league and to me it is the best set up in northern England. I never regret joining the club and have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of Netherfield.

“I would like to thank my family and friends and all at Netherfield for the plaque as I didn’t have a clue it was happening.”