Andy Hoyles will ignore the pleas of Spalding Rugby Club skipper Harry Sharman and will bow out of the sport on a high.
Sharman was named as skipper for a record sixth season last week and admitted one of his main targets was to persuade Hoyles to keep on playing.
But Hoyles, who turns 34 next month, insists it is time to bow out of first-team rugby.
He said: “I’m getting old and we have some great young players at the club so it is time for them to play and me to retire.
“I will stay involved and probably play at some level, just not in the first team.
“It is a difficult decision but I have to take into consideration the travelling involved as I have worked commitments and my family to think about.
“My body won’t miss it though as I have to sit down just to pull my socks up on a Tuesday if we’ve played a match on the Saturday!
“I’ve had a very enjoyable career. They’re great lads at Spalding and winning promotion via the play-offs is a great way to bow out.
“It’s never easy knowing when to retire but I would rather bow out now than keep playing as an old codger.”
Hoyles, who first played for the club after moving to the area from Wisbech ten years ago, insists the young talent coming through at Spalding means he won’t be missed, despite his superb displays during their promotion campaign last season.
“I won’t be hard to replace,” he said modestly. “What is important is that the 25 to 28-year-olds step up to the plate to give Harry support.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play with some good players at Spalding and Harry is one of those that don’t come along very often.
“He is a great leader and it’s up to lads like Harry Brown, George Brown, Ryan Chappell and Tom Duerden to give him as much help as they can.
“I think the club will do well in Midlands One East next year.
“They do need to recruit and they will no longer be scoring 50 or 60 points without much of a response.
“But you would much rather be involved in a tight game against better opposition than be winning 56-0.”