County confirm Middlebrook departure

James Middlebrook

James Middlebrook

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Northamptonshire will not be offering all-rounder James Middlebrook a new deal when his contract expires at the end of this season.

The 37-year-old, who joined in 2010 after spells with Essex and his native Yorkshire, is playing in the ongoing LV= County Championship game against Sussex which will be his last for the club.

As we reported yesterday, it seemed unlikely Middlebrook would be retained as the County seek to put together a more youthful team for next season.

However, his contribution to the side over the years cannot be faulted with his first-class record alone showing over 3,300 runs and 134 wickets.

This season, one that has seen the side struggle enormously in Division One. he is the leading runscorer on 777 and third-highest wicket taker with 28.

Tightening finances and an emphasis on younger player means Middlebrook joins David Sales, Andrew Hall and Matthew Spriegel in heading for the exit door.

As head coach David Ripley told us yesterday: “The reality of the situation is that we are preparing for life in Division Two again and that has an impact on our playing budget.”

In a statement announcing Middlebrook’s departure, Ripley explained: “These are always difficult decisions to make regarding players futures.

“We would like to place on record our thanks to James for the contribution he has made throughout his time at Wantage Road and, in particular, for the leadership role he has taken during what has been a particularly difficult season in 2014.

“He leaves with the best wishes of everyone at the club.”

Middlebrook added: “I would like to thank the members who have made me feel most welcome during my time here and all the team-mates with whom I have shared a dressing-room.

“I wish them every good fortune as I now focus on the next stage of my career.”