CINDERFORD St John club captain Mark Roberts says he’s ’chuffed to bits’ to have hit the 500 wicket mark for the Broadmoor Road club’s first XI.

44-year-old Roberts passed the milestone on Saturday against Poulton in St John’s County League Division Two home match, which was abandoned after the visitors finished their innings.

It came when Rich Bywater caught Roberts’ ball to dismiss middle order man Robbie James for 28 runs, before he bowled Liam James for wicket 501 later that day.

It’s the latest in a long line for Roberts, who hails from Ruardean Woodside and passes the ground of rivals Ruardean Hill to play where his family have for years before him.

In nearly 30 years at the club, Roberts has bowled 2,694 overs for the first team, 521of which were maidens.

206 of his wickets were bowled, 187 caught and 75 were awarded as lbw.

15 came via the batsmen being stumped and 18 from .

“It’s really great, I’m chuffed to bits”, he said.

“I’ve known it was close for the last couple of year so getting there on Saturday is a big achievement for me.

“I’m the first of my era of bowlers to have done it – I’m not sure about those before me – but when I started I used to open the bowling for Craig Kibble who got his 400th wicket a couple of weeks ago too.

“It’s a great thing to have done.”

Roberts, who started playing for the club aged 11, had his best day of bowling in a Sunday friendly against Cheltenham Civil Service, when he had figures of 9-27.

But that day, despite the amazing effort, is still one of a sore memory for Roberts.

“The frustrating thing about that day was that it was either my dad or my brother who took the tenth wicket!” he explained.

“I can’t remember which way round it was, but the other one caught it to stop me getting the tenth. I think they might have done it on purpose sometimes!”

Roberts now has his eye on another record. He’s just under 600 runs shy of the 10,000 mark and is aiming to reach that by the end of the season.

“To hit the 10,000-run mark and the 500 wickets in one season would be incredible,” he said.

“That’s got to be the aim for me now.”