Long-serving coach Rowe set to leave Northants
Northants' assistant first-team coach Phil Rowe will retire at the end of the season after 15 years at the club.
Rowe has been closely involved in the development of a number of current first-team players, working with many of them through their junior years.
He is best known for his work with the bowling group, but his all-round contribution to the County has earned him plenty of praise.
However, Rowe feels the time is now right to take a step back.
“I feel it’s the right time for me, I’m ready to take the step of starting the next chapter," Rowe said.
"It's been a great time all the way through and I’m going out on my own terms.
“It’s actually been out there around the group for a while. I announced my decision to the lads and the club after the Durham game two or three months ago just to get that done really.
"I wanted to give the club time to get things in place ready to kick off again in January.
“I’ve got sort of mixed feelings, I do go through the odd wave of doubt if I’ve done the right thing but I’m looking forward to what’s next.
"My heart will still be here and I’ll still be here quite a bit as well I think.”
Rowe’s main focus away from cricket will be a new career in counselling as he begins work on becoming qualified in the new year.
While the end of this year will see the conclusion of Rowe’s full-time involvement with the club, he will still be involved at the County Ground.
“I’m still going to be doing some part-time work and projects for the club including some coaching on our elite programmes, coach development and education in the pathway and mentoring some of our professional pathway coaches," Rowe explained.
“I’ll be supporting our partnership strategy with surrounding minor counties and supporting our emerging overseas partnerships.
"Some of the lads have already asked me to do some stuff with them individually as well, it’s a bit of a portfolio of things really including doing a bit of nothing."
So what are Rowe's favourite moments with Northants?
“There’s heaps of great memories but I think it’s difficult to look past the T20 wins," he said.
"The first one in particular was the first trophy the club had won in 20-plus years, we were the very unfancied underdogs and so on, so that was wonderful.
“But genuinely it’s been a joy and an absolute pleasure and I’ve loved it.
"The lads have been great and have given me opportunities I could only ever really have dreamed of.
"It’s been fantastic and to look back and have been part of the most successful period the club has had in terms of trophies won has just been great.”
Rowe has developed a strong working relationship with Northants head coach David Ripley.
And Ripley said: “Phil took a leap of faith to join Northants as a development coach, leaving a well-paid job behind.
"It's been a pleasure to share his journey from his Kwik Cricket school visits to being a universally respected T20-winning coach.
"I'd like to thank Phil personally for the support he has given me in our time together, the team will miss his expertise, voice of reason and brilliant humour.”
The players will also miss Rowe.
And former skipper Alex Wakely said: "Rowey for me was more than just a coach, he was like a mentor.
"He was the one you could go to with any problems away from cricket, whether it be psychological or any issues you had and he would always put things in perspective.
“I found throughout my captaincy he was the one I’d go to whenever there was an issue, whenever I needed someone to talk to he was always there.
"I’m lucky to call him a friend as much as anything and the club will miss him I think.
"Every single person won’t realise how much he did until he goes, that’s the sign of someone who’s a natural born leader like he was.
"We’re going to miss him.”