JOHN Walker is to stand down as coach of Old Otliensians at the end of the season.
The Yorkshire Three club have made great strides during his seven years at the helm.
And they have two chances to send him off with silverware. Otliensians face Ilkley 2nds in the final of the Aire-Wharfe Cup on Tuesday (6.30pm), and are through to the semi-finals of the Yorkshire Silver Trophy where they will be at home to either Knottingley or Leeds Corinthians on April 29.
When Walker arrived at the club in May 2010 they had just been relegated to Yorkshire Four.
After narrowly missing out on promotion in the 2011-12, Walker oversaw the club's climb into Yorkshire Three the following year and they have remained there ever since.
Walker, who works as a manager in a building company, lives in Ossett and joined Otliensians after a spell of coaching the youth teams at Sandal.
He has trekked up and down the M1 three times a week in the winter months since 2010.
His family have also been part of the club and son Keiran played for the club for a season before he moved on to study at Sheffield University.
Walker said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at ‘Ensians coaching a talented bunch of players who are friends and enjoy playing for each other. "I’ve tried to encourage a fast, open style of rugby and the lads took this on board with Declan Jackson beating the club try-scoring record three years ago
“The highlights have been promotion to Yorkshire Three and beating Ilkley in a tense Aire-Wharfe Cup final five years ago.
"The low point was last year in the Aire-Wharfe final against Ilkley when we believed we had won as the “away” side in a 10-10 draw, only to face a hastily-arranged penalty shoot-out in driving sleet!”
Walker believes that the time is right to stand down and feels that a fresh face and voice will bring new impetus to the club.
He has no plans to resume coaching elsewhere and he will continue to be a member at Otliensians.
“It’s a great club run by a great bunch of people and, after a year out, I’ll be looking to offer my services in other ways as a volunteer," Walker said.
Otliensians are currently in the process of finalising the appointment of a new coach for next season.