CRICKET: Oxfordshire skipper Hawtin happy to bow out at the top

Ian Hawtin in action

Ian Hawtin in action

First published in Sport by , Sports reporter specialising in horse racing. Call me on 01865 425453

Oxfordshire captain Ian Hawtin says he is going out at the top after announcing his retirement from all forms of cricket.

The 45-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, who made 103 Minor Counties Championship appearances for Oxon, had skippered the side for the last eight seasons.

He also made 56 one-day appearances for the county, playing in four Minor Counties Cricket Association Trophy semi-finals.

Hawtin, whose decision means Banbury will also be looking for a new captain next season, said: “As far as my cricket is concerned that’s it for me – I won’t play any more.

“I wanted to make sure I packed up when I could demand a place in the (Oxfordshire) side and my performances still merited that.

“I wanted to make sure I went out at the top rather than drifting away.”

Hawtin’s retirement comes at the end of a season in which he broke his right elbow in a fall while getting out of the loft at his new home in Kirtlington in May.

It left him on the sidelines – when Richard Kaufman led the side – until the last two Championship games.

And he added: “Obviously, getting injured this season gave me thoughts. It was the first time I have had any real injuries and it gave a me a taste of what it’s like not to play.

“I am proud to have played for Oxon. When I started, I didn’t envisage that I would play that amount of games.”

Trophies eluded Hawtin during his time in charge, although the county came agonisingly close on several occasions, including this year when but for rain they may have won the Western Division title.

“We always seemed to get that little bit of luck go against us,” he added.

“This season against Cornwall it rained at tea when they were nine down, so we were that close.”

He hit one Minor Counties Championship century, an unbeaten 117 against Shropshire at Challow in 2004.

“That was my highest score, but I played in some really good games for Oxon,” he reflected.

He believes he leaves the side in good shape, with younger players now firmly established.

OCB chairman Chris Clements paid tribute to Hawtin, saying: “He has been a fantastic servant and ambassador of Oxfordshire cricket, setting high standards of performance and behaviour.”

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