Steffan Jones may be set to quit first-class cricket to take up a new role at an independent school in Somerset.
An agonising few days lie ahead for the burly Welsh bowler as he makes the decision between taking up the offer of a new three-year contract from Derbyshire to become assistant coach and carry on playing or to take up a post at Wellington School, close to where his family home still is.
The 37-year-old has promised to make his choice within the week and says that the best interests of his wife and two daughters will be paramount – but is on the horns of a huge dilemma for now.
“It’s a really tough decision that I’m struggling with at the minute,” said Jones. “It’s an outstanding offer from the club and a majority of players coming towards the end of their careers would bite their hand off.
“But I’ve also had an offer at Wellington School in Somerset. It’s a role they have made up for me especially – a brilliant job with a blank canvas where I would be head of cricket, head of strength and conditioning for all sports and ambassador for the school.
“One choice means I stay at home, the other means I relocate to the Midlands and my children go to school up here. My eldest is four and she asked me last week ‘when are you going to teach, dad?’ and I don’t want to tell her that, actually, you might be having a new bedroom and going to a new school.
“She loves the school down there and the worst fear I’ve got is we move to Derbyshire and she comes home from the first day at school and says she hates it. That would kill me.
“As anyone who’s got children will understand, family is more important to me than anything. That’s no disrespect to the game or to the club because I have got a passion for this club and I love playing for this club.
“It’s a great time for Derbyshire with the big push on the youngsters and the new management structure and that’s made it hard for me.”
Jones began his second spell with Derbyshire, initially on loan, in 2009 and is tremendously popular with supporters and staff alike.
Family interests were a major reason why he left Derbyshire in 2006 to re-join Somerset at around the time his first child, Seren, was about to be born. His wife, Alex, is from the West Country and Jones’ family is nearby in South Wales.
But Jones would potentially be giving up more this time. A fitness fanatic, Jones believes he could still be bowling at the first-class level when he is 40 and also has big ambitions as a coach.
“I’ve spoken to Kevin Shine, the ECB bowling performance coach, regarding how high up the ladder I could go potentially,” he added.
“He was one of my first coaches and I respect his opinion highly. He was very complimentary and said the game needs characters like myself with my knowledge on fitness and technical knowledge.
“If I went to live in Somerset, I would do some work with their academy, so I would still be in the game, and I would still be playing Minor Counties and club cricket. I just love the game, whether it’s playing in front of 2,000 people or eight.
“It’s a tricky one and it’s definitely not a done deal yet because it’s a brilliant offer from the club.”