Shaw Lane Aquaforce owner Craig Wood has received the 'all clear' after a battle with testicular cancer and is back to his mission of making the Ducks Barnsley's most successful ever non-league club.
The Cawthorne-based businessman, 41, who owns a successful plumbing business of the same name, aims to take Aquaforce to the Conference after three successive promotions. He was diagnosed with cancer at Christmas and has since undergone a successful course of chemotherapy.
"It's just a massive relief to get the all-clear," said Wood. "I will have regular check-ups for the next few years but hopefully it's gone. "I've been back at work since last week and, although my energy levels are very low, it is great to be back. I have been at Shaw Lane quite a lot to check on the work we're doing on the pitch and for pre-season meetings. I will be a lot more involved now."
Wood did not attend many matches during his illness but did go to the final games of the season and gave a speech in the dressing room which left some of the players in tears before they got the point they needed for promotion to the Premier Division of the Northern Counties East League. The Ducks' new league is known as one of the most difficult to get out of because there is only one promotion place in the EvoStick Leagues, which are just below the Conference North.
"It's going to be our hardest challenge yet but we'll give it a good go," said Wood.
Aquaforce have signed seven new players this summer including Joe Thornton from local rivals Athersley Rec and former Nottingham Forest star Matt Thornhill.