A standard-bearer of Deepings Rugby Club for nearly 30 years has taken his last pass and kick as a player.
Clint Bell (47), who sons Clayton (21) and Charlie (18) both play for Deepings, has called time on his involvement on the pitch for health reasons and received warm tributes from team-mates and supporters alike.
But Clint will continue to give his experience and influence to the Green Machine, both on and off the pitch, as he plans to carry on as club captain.
In a message on social media, Clint said: “It’s with great regret that I’m announcing my retirement (on health grounds) serious enough for me to call it a day.
“It’s been great fun and an honour to have played with and against you all, but the plan is to still be on tour.
“So I’ll still be around to annoy you all and have a beer or two.”
It’s been great fun and an honour to have played with and against you all, but the plan is to still be on tourClint Bell (47), club captain, Deepings RUFC
Clint joined Deepings in 1988 but 14 years later, he was told to give up rugby after a serious heart operation only to play on for both the Green Machine’s first and veterans’ teams over the last ten seasons.
Speaking after Deepings played Birstall in a Midlands Four East (South) game at Linchfield Road last month, Clint said: “I came here for the first time to see what the club was like and when one of the guys showed me around, I thought this was the club for me.
“My sons have grown up at Deepings so it’s second nature to them and so they’d have a hard time joining another club.
“The passion for rugby has rubbed off on them as I’ve been involved at the club for so long and as long as Clay and Charlie enjoy playing the sport, that’s all that matters.”
Deepings’ 1st XV skipper Guy Cunningham said: “I can’t really put into words what Clint has done except to say that he’s someone who pulls the whole club together.”