A TOP York cricketer has told of the huge support he is receiving as he "bowls" against his biggest opponent – cancer.

Spin bowler Dan Woods, who was captain of York Cricket Club until he fell ill last winter, says he has continued playing for the side this summer when he’s felt well enough - taking part in a dozen games.

The 31-year-old teacher, of Clifton Moor, has also carried on teaching PE and games at schools.

He said he wanted to thank fellow cricketers, staff at York Hospital, York Against Cancer and his wife Heather and his family for their "amazing" backing as he has dealt with the tough diagnosis and treatment for an oesophageal tumour.

Dan said: “They’ve been incredible at the hospital. They made a horrifying, terrifying experience manageable. Within 10 minutes of my diagnosis, I was given a care worker to offer me support and care.

“The atmosphere in the Magnolia centre (where cancer patients are treated) is really lovely. The nurses are so supportive and caring.

“There’s a really strong cricketing community in York and the support from it has also been overwhelming.

“The club chairman, Dr Nigel Durham, who is a cardiologist, has been there at the other end of the phone for me from day one, such as when I had to go to A&E at 4four in the morning.

|"Duncan Snell, who’s taken over as captain at the cricket club, is a personal trainer and he’s helped me to stay fit and strong.”

Dan said he had also received some amazing support from York Against Cancer.

“When you can’t work and you worry, they have talked it through, when if you were left on your own it would be overwhelming.

“My wife Heather has also been unbelievable, incredibly strong and positive.”

Dan, who was formerly a teacher at Cundall Manor School near Thirsk but recently started work at St Peter’s School and St Olave’s in Bootham, York, said he had always been fit and healthy but noticed last autumn he was losing weight and getting indigestion and stomach aches.

A doctor originally diagnosed and treated him for a stomach ulcer, but after the problems persisted he was sent for an endoscopy, which revealed the tumour, which was then confirmed through a biopsy.

His treatment so far has consisted of 12 rounds of chemotherapy in a bid to contain the cancer.

He said he did not have a lifestyle which would tend to lead to such a cancer developing, such as smoking or drinking heavily, but there was a family history of stomach cancer and there appeared to be a genetic link.

He said he had been trying to live as normal a life as possible since his diagnosis.

“Some of my experiences since my diagnosis have been the happiest in my life,” he said. “I have spent a lot of time with people with whom I am really close, my wife my friends and my family.”