Ryan Robinson helped Skelmanthorpe to the Huddersfield Cricket League’s Jedi Championship title and lifted the Hedley Dawson Cup as leading batsman.
The 45-year-old dad-of-two was humbled by the award and, modestly, said there were probably one or two of his teammates who were more deserving of the accolade.
Robinson’s batting average was the best in Huddersfield Cricket League’s second tier. He amassed 477 runs at an average of 59.63.
On his achievement, Robinson said: “I am really pleased to pick up this award. It’s the first time I’ve won something so it’s a real honour.
“If I’m being totally honest I think Joe Sykes deserves it more than me. He put more runs on the board, he had a terrific season and deserves some praise for sure.”
Robinson grew up in Emley and played football and cricket as a boy. Talented at both sports he soon found he had a choice to make.
Robinson said: “Growing up in Emley there wasn’t a chance to play cricket before you were 13. My dad was involved in Thornhill Cricket Club, it’s no longer there now. So as a young kid we used to travel over there and play, I really enjoyed it.
“A lot of the local Emley lads played for Thornhill and I remember at one point our entire team was made up of Emley boys.
“Once people turned 13 they inevitably went and played for Emley, but I stayed at Thornhill.
“Around that time I got really into football and when I was 15 I could have signed forms to go and play for Hull City. At the same time I had just broken into the Yorkshire set up for cricket and was doing really well.
“I ended up picking cricket over football. I could live at home whilst playing for Yorkshire and I would have had to move away if I chose Hull. I was happy at home and that pushed me towards cricket. I enjoyed my life in Huddersfield.
Robinson, an all-rounder, rose through the ranks at Yorkshire and was the captain of the under-16 team which won the Texaco Trophy, a national competition. He received a three year academy deal and then a one-year staff deal.
During his time at Yorkshire CCC when he was 18 Robinson travelled to South Africa to take part in a six-month winter tour across 1994-95.
This time period was one of the most important and politically charged time frames in South Africa’s history.
Looking back, Robinson said: “I didn’t learn a lot from a cricket point of view because the standard was so poor. However, it was a huge learning experience for me being only 18. I learned a hell of a lot of life skills from that trip. Seeing how South Africa was at that time was very interesting.
“We went out there and stayed in a tiny village. I was the only white person there and I think because of what was happening the local people were just thankful I was happy to interact with them. There were lots of incredible people there and it’s a trip I can’t ever forget.”
Robinson returned to England a more knowledgeable person and the skills he learned in South Africa would help him later on in his career.
He was released from the White Rose county team at 20 and went on to trial at a number of other clubs. One of those clubs was Durham who offered Robinson a two-year contract.
“I played for Durham for two years, but the biggest mistake I made is that I didn’t go there and play locally. I was still playing in the Huddersfield League for Kirkburton.”
Robinson left Durham at 24 and fell out of love with the sport. Having made it to the top, he now found himself without a club.
“I’d played for Yorkshire and Durham and been in the sport since being a child. When I got released in my mid-20s I kept thinking what’s the point. I fell out of love with cricket.
“Whilst at Durham I got told another county wanted me. They wanted an all-rounder and I was excited. However, the move then fell through and I got told that whilst they were looking for my type of player they had found an overseas player. I felt a bit let down by that.”
Having left Durham, Robinson decided to learn a trade and became an electrician.
“A friend of mine helped me get a qualification. He said I could work with him whilst I got my qualifications. I was 24 at the time and so I was classed as too old to get an apprenticeship.
“The Professional Cricketers’ Association really helped me with funding while I went and studied and so a big thanks has to go to them too.”
Robinson continued to play in the Huddersfield League for various teams through his 30s and 40s. He moved to Skelmanthorpe last year to play for Shat, the local name for the village. He and his family are looking for a house in the area.
He lives with wife Kate and their son Louis, seven, and his eldest son Taylor, 13, from a previous relationship.
Just as his father got him into cricket, Robinson is thrilled Taylor loves the sport too.
“I’m very proud of my son,” said Robinson. “He’ll be playing his first season of men’s cricket next year. It’ll be interesting to see how he gets on. I am moving down to play with him in the second team next year.
“Obviously if the first team needs a player I’ll be available but I’m looking forward to playing the sport I love with my son.
“Louis hasn’t quite got into anything at the moment. He might want to start playing next year. However I’m not a pushy parent and if he doesn’t get into it, so be it. I’m still proud of him too.”
Robinson is also grateful to wife Kate for all her support and said: “She’s always there for me when I feel a bit low and while she has no interest in cricket at all, she knows how big a part of my life the sport is.”