Todmorden skipper Andrew Sutcliffe says it will be “impossible” to fill the void left by departed Michael Neser.
The 24-year-old flew back to Australia earlier this week having left an indelible record of his talents at the Centre Vale club.
All-rounder Neser signed off with a club record 191 at Rawtenstall last Saturday and followed up with 57 at home to Bacup on Sunday as Todmorden notched a quick double in the Lancashire League.
The South African-born player had the club’s batting record at his mercy, having topped 1,000 league and cup runs in 16 innings, and had also taken 48 wickets with his rapid bowling.
Sutcliffe explained the player’s departure. He said: “He has gone home as he has been put on standby for Australia A, who are currently playing in Australia.
“The Australian Cricket Association wanted him to back to train on a daily basis in case he got a call up for the side.
“When a player gets an opportunity like that you cannot stand in his way.
“Michael has been a model professional for his entire stay this summer and he will be missed by all at the club. We all wish him well for what will undoubtedly be an international career.”
Sutcliffe said Todmorden would use substitute professionals for the last eight games.
Although considered mainly a fast bowler, Neser made it three centuries in a row with his wonder knock against Rawtenstall .
He smashed 23 fours and 13 sixes and eclipsed the club’s previous best score in an innings, 189 from Indian Tushar Arothe at Accrington in 2002.
Opener Simon Newbitt (45) helped add 166 as the visitors piled up 335 all out - the club’s highest score in limited overs matches and the highest in the league this season.
Rawtenstall replied with 196, opener Sam Kershaw making 57 and Stuart Priestley taking three for 36.
One experienced Rawtenstall player said was the best innings he had ever seen and Sutcliffe wasn’t about to argue with that assessment.
He said: “Michael’s knock on Sunday was a pleasure to watch. It was the best innings I have ever seen.
The knock was totally faultless, everything was straight out of the middle and there were no chances at all. It was brutal and he constantly hit the ball for six, over after over.”
Neser’s 57 the following day came off 34 balls and helped set up a two-wicket win.
Tod chased down Bacup’s 178 for nine, which included 74 from Tim Farragher and a wicket for 15-year-old Hamsar Ali on his senior debut.
Opener Ben Sutcliffe made 46 and he and Neser added 87 before Elliott Gilford’s 19 not out saw the home side to the winning post.
Sutcliffe added: “Replacing Michael like for like is impossible but we will get some good cricketers to replace him.
“It will be a good opportunity for the amateur players to stand up and put some performances in as for the last month Michael has stolen the show.”
Todmorden hadn’t engaged a professional for Sunday’s trip to Church by yesterday.
However, Sutcliffe indicated that they would be looking for a seam bowler.