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Cricket and rugby league pay tribute to John Stabler

Cricket and rugby league pay tribute to John Stabler

The cricket community has been paying tribute to Methley’s chairman John Stabler who died last week aged 77.

Stabler was one of the most distinguished figures in West Yorkshire cricket and alongside his 50 years of service to his beloved club, served as president of the Central Yorkshire League, the Yorkshire Council and the Heavy Woollen Cup – a post he held until his death.

But it isn’t just cricket that is mourning his loss. Stabler was the honorary president of the York Knights Rugby League Club who are going to hold a minute’s silence before Sunday’s Betfred Championship game against Newcastle Thunder at the LNER Community Stadium

After an initial spell on the board from 1991-1996, he returned in 2001 and served as chairman before becoming president.

Stabler was introduced to Methley by his predecessor as Ron Wolfenden in the late 1970s and quickly fell in love with the club.

One of his qualities was his willingness to undertake any task. He could always be seen manning the gate, organising the car park and selling programmes at Methley’s home games. He would often be accompanied by former secretary David Clegg who died last year.

It is a regret for everybody concerned that Stabler will not now witness the 2023 Solly Sports Heavy Woollen Cup final which is being played at Methley on Sunday, August 20.

Long-serving player and official Mick Waite – father of Worcestershire all-rounder Matthew – has been appointed as Methley’s interim chairman.

Club secretary Neil Clegg said: “The club is planning for our players to wear black armbands for their matches this Saturday and observe a minute’s silence.

“We are also hoping to be able to arrange a memorial game later in the season as a further way of marking our appreciation for John’s support of the club.”

Stabler, who owned his own textile company, described himself as an average cricketer who played for Crossgates, Old Manor and Horbury. Although he never hit the heights on the field, he certainly made a huge impact off it.

League president David Young was among those to highlight his immense contribution not just to Methley but to the wider game. “John’s record demonstrates how dedicated he was to cricket. It wasn’t just the massive impact he made at Methley, it was his work too as president of the CYCL, Yorkshire Council and Heavy Woollen Cup,” he said.

“He certainly gave plenty back to the game he loved. John was immensely proud of his club and rightly so. He is going to be sorely missed and my thoughts are with his family and his cricketing colleagues at Methley.”

A man who worked closely with Stabler in recent years was former Methley player Paul McFarlane, match manager of the Heavy Woollen Cup competition. He said: “John became Heavy Woollen president in 2016 and he brought an air of calmness with him.

“If I was struggling with a particular issue, he would help me solve it. He wouldn’t get too wrapped up in the emotion, he would simply think things through and take the heat out of any problem.

“His death represents a big loss for the Heavy Woollen Cup competition. He loved being the president and we loved having him chairing our meetings and leading the way. I was stunned when I heard the news. This is a big blow for Methley and everybody who knew him.”

Stabler’s funeral is at York Crematorium on Tuesday, June 6 at 1.40pm

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