CROSSFLATTS Village stalwart Craig Durn believes next season could be his last as a player as he looks to hang up his boots.

The 35-year-old has played for the club since they were formed back in 2003 but has recently admitted he now has other priorities.

“I’m not getting any younger and work and family commitments mean that I can’t play every week now," said Durn.

"Not only that, we have a lot better squad these days than we used to, so I can’t just walk straight back into the side."

Durn, who has amassed over 350 appearances for the club, reflected on some of the highlights with Village.

He said: “The best memories that spring to mind are captaining the side to two Keighley Cup wins (in 2011/2012 and 2015/2016) which were unbelievable experiences, especially the celebrations afterwards with our fans.

"We also won the Wharfedale Triangle League Invitation Cup in 2008/2009, which was a cracking day out that will live long in the memory.”

A late starter to the amateur ranks, Durn began as an over-lapping full back at the age of 20 before he was converted to an uncompromising centre back back in 2006.

He heaped praise on some of his former central defensive partners that he has played alongside over the years.

He said: "I have played with some absolutely quality centre-backs in my time such as Ben Hinchcliffe, Graham Emsley, Chris Price, Joe Lunn and Kevin Gill – but Nick Fawell has to be the best one I have played with. He taught me a lot about the art of defending.”

Durn went on to praise his former manager and current team-mate Lee Bailey, who has enjoyed success with Crossflatts.

He said: “I have fond memories of playing under some great managers at the club. When Lee Bailey took charge of the team, he was in his pomp as a player and was well-respected in the Wharfedale Triangle League.

"He still is to this day and he went on to become an excellent manager, guiding us to two cup finals and promotion to the top flight of the Triangle. 'The General' knew how to get the best out of his players.”

Bailey said: “Durny is a class act both on and off the field and has improved with age. He has grown with the club as we have moved up in divisions and leagues.

"He has been the heartbeat of the club for many years and he is the first player you think about when someone mentions Crossflatts Village Football Club.”

After the club folded for the 2014/2015 season, Durn took the decision to play for local rivals Bingley AFC but he admitted: “Despite getting to the final of the Keighley Cup, it didn’t feel the same playing for them as it did for Flatts.”

Village then reformed in 2015/2016 under the management of Stephen George and Durn picked up where he left off.

He said: “I had a great relationship with Stevie and I still do. He was the man who got us running again after we had a season off.

"He made it clear to me from day one that he wanted me and Kevin Gill to run the show at the heart of the defence and we justified his faith in us. We had the best defence in the league and won the Keighley Cup for the second time in our history.”

After one season in charge, George resigned as manager and Durn’s centre-back partner Gill was appointed player-manager.

He said: “Kev is now in his second season in charge and he lives and breathes it. He has turned us into a well-oiled machine.

"From a personal point of view, last season was one of the worst seasons of my career. I lost my place at the heart of the defence and I found myself on the bench, often replaced in the starting XI by right-backs who were playing out of position.

"I then got my place back towards the end of the league campaign but I was axed for the Keighley FA Cup final when we got stuffed by Bradford Phoenix. Maybe if I’d started we might have won like we did when we beat them in the final the year before!”

Durn has become a bit-part player this season after Gill made some excellent signings in pre-season. But the main reason behind his lack of appearances this year is because his young children are thriving in their chosen hobbies, meaning that his first priority is now chauffeuring them across the country.

He said: "“My 11-year-old daughter Georgia’s cheerleading team have just won a National Cheerleading tournament, and they have just been invited to represent the UK in United States Finals in Chicago. My nine-year-old son Tommy is also sports crazy.

"My long-suffering wife Katie is my rock and I don’t know how she copes with us sometimes. She just runs around like a headless chicken keeping us three in check.”

“My dream is for the club to keep improving every season and with Kevin at the helm, I have no doubts we will.

"The ultimate dream is for my son Tommy to emulate me and skipper us to Keighley Cup success.

"The club is in a great position at the moment and that’s down to the hard work that Kevin, (assistant manager) Les Cooper and (secretary) Paul Dean put in.

"The club is going from strength to strength and I am looking forward to progress. I would love a testimonial game at the end of next season to round things off officially. I’ll then be able to hang my boots up for good and leave it to the young lads.”

Dean added: "Craig is what Sunday football is all about. He was there at the start and still steps in nearly 15 years later when required.

"The Village now competes with family, Leeds United, and business for Craig's time but I know he still cares passionately about the club and we are proud to have Craig's business as shirt sponsor. I have really valued his contribution over the years and hope he will be around for many years to come."