Daryn Smit will not be returning to Ramsbottom after signing a two year contract with Derbyshire.
Ramsbottom Cricket Manager Andy Dalby said: "I'm sure you'll all agree that Daryn has been an excellent Professional in the last three years.
"Not only have his stats been phenomenal, but the manner in which he has conducted himself has been exemplary.
"In my opinion Daryn certainly ranks up there as one of the greats that the club have engaged as a Professional.
"We all felt that this was going to happen at the back end of last season when Daryn scored a double century in a second XI fixture and albeit the timing isn't great for us as a club - we want to place on record our sincere thanks for all that he has done and wish him nothing but the best for his future with the Falcons.
"An announcement regarding our new Professional will be made once a signed contract has been returned."
Daryn Smit: "I would like to thank everyone at Ramsbottom CC for their unanimous support over the past few days.
"From a purely cricketing perspective it was an easy decision to make, but knowing that at this late stage, taking up the offer to join Derbyshire would leave the club in a hell of a tight spot, it was a gut wrenching decision to make.
"The well wishes and response from the lads has been amazing and I am truly humbled by their support and backing of this decision that will allow me to continue as a professional cricketer, gain county experience and return to Ramsbottom thereafter as a wiser and better player as a result.
"The role that Ramsbottom has played in opening up this opportunity for me has been invaluable and I am indebted to them for that.
"I look forward to following the progress of our title defence from a distance throughout the season and certainly in person when scheduling permits.