GARETH Andrew felt the time was right to announce his retirement.

The ex-professional called it a day in the aftermath of Oxfordshire’s NCCA Championship final victory over Suffolk last week – their first title in 32 years.

Andrew was recruited as the county’s senior player in 2018, having featured in 96 first-class matches for Somerset, Worcestershire and Hampshire.

The all-rounder’s 2020 season was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic, but he still had a huge impact on and off the field during his time in Oxfordshire.

That culminated in another excellent display against Suffolk, taking four wickets and scoring 56 vital runs.

Andrew will continue to play for Ombersley in the Birmingham & District Premier League, but his time with Oxon has come to an end.

The 37-year-old told BBC Oxford: “It’s been a brilliant journey for me, but I’m not getting any younger and I’ll pass on the baton to someone else.

“Having the year out with Covid, (and) a young family, work commitments and a new job all puts it into perspective.

“I still want to enjoy club cricket in the Birmingham League for another couple of years.

“I’m getting onto 40 and 40-year-olds should be washing the cars and doing laundry on a Sunday, so I’ve got plenty of other projects going on which I’ll need the time for.”

Andrew talked up Oxon’s young squad earlier in the summer and they delivered, winning Western Division 1 before beating Suffolk by 178 runs.

He hopes there is more to come, having seen players like 17-year-old James Coles – called-up by England Under 19s earlier this month – achieve big things.

Andrew said: “When I first came in we had some work to do, but Rupert (Evans, head coach), Paul White (assistant coach) and Jonny Cater (captain) have been unbelievable in creating an atmosphere and a squad of players to win a competition when I thought three years ago that would never be the case.

“It’s great to have other guys that have come in this year and made such a contribution.

“Our younger players are going onto professional cricket, so we’re doing the right things.

“We have a huge amount of talent to come through, so in a year’s time we might see even younger members of the team making big contributions.”