Steffan Jones has decided that family life comes before first-class cricket and is to retire at the end of the season to take up a new career in teaching.
He has rejected Derbyshire’s offer of a new three-year contract to stay at the County Ground as assistant coach and one-day player so that he can return to the family home just outside Taunton and take up a post at the independent Wellington School in Somerset.
It is the sensible decision for 37-year-old, whose wife and two young daughters have remained in Somerset throughout the two years of his second spell with Derbyshire. Taking up the county’s offer would have meant moving his family to the Midlands.
He will stay with Derbyshire until the end of the season and admitted he was sorely tempted by the county’s offer. “It’s been a tough decision because everyone keeps telling me you are a long time out of the game but I’ve been away from my family now for two years and it’s quite tough having to go up and down the motorway,” said Jones.
“I had two or three meetings at Derby and they kept changing the offer and it kept improving. I appreciated how much they wanted me to stay but the offer of having employment until you are 65 in a good school as head of cricket and head of strength and conditioning – it was just an offer I couldn’t refuse.
“Everything has to come to an end. I’ve been 20 years on the staff in cricket and I could have potentially played until I was 40, so that’s not bad.”
Jones, who was also a professional rugby player with Swansea and Bristol, never got the chance to play first-class cricket with Glamorgan, even though he played youth internationals and Minor Counties cricket for Wales.
But he made his first-class debut for Cambridge University in 1997 and went on to make a mark in two spells with Somerset and Derbyshire, with an unhappy two seasons at Northants in between.
In addition to his 387 first-class, 253 one-day and 44 Twenty20 wickets to date, he has also scored two first-class centuries and never misses an opportunity to remind everyone of that fact.
Having prided himself on his fitness, Jones says he intends to carry on playing cricket at Minor Counties and club level for as long as he is able and will be remembered with great affection by supporters because he was never less than an honest, hard-working county pro.
“I hope people remember me as a good competitor who ran in all day, never gave up, never avoided any battle – that will please me,” he added.
“I’m not sure there can be many better than my one-day stats and on my day in the Championship I could bowl teams out. I was handy with the bat too. I’m very pleased with my career and I’m fine with retirement. I’ve got something to go to and I can spend more time with my family.
“It’s not as if I’m having to retire through injury, I’m retiring on my own accord and on my terms. It’s exciting times – a new chapter in the Jones book.”