SOMERSET fast bowler Steve Kirby has announced his retirement from First Class cricket with immediate effect because of an ongoing shoulder injury.

Kirby, who has been involved with first class cricket for 20 years, underwent surgery on his right shoulder during the winter - and despite seeing slight improvements,  a further incident while playing in a second team game has left him with no option but to now retire.

Kirby joined Somerset from Gloucestershire in 2011 and has played in 35 first class matches, taking 103 wickets at an average of 32.23.

He has also been a key member of the limited over and T20 teams, claiming 45 List A wickets at 22.2 and 34 T20 scalps at 25.74.

Kirby said: “It has come as a real blow to me to have to retire from the game that I have been involved with for the past 20 years of my life. It's been a difficult winter having gone through two operations. Dealing with setbacks is always part of professional sport but sometimes no matter how hard you try to recover, things are just taken out of your control."

“I have got so many happy memories of my time in the first class game and in particular the four years I have spent with Somerset - it's been great to be part of a fantastic team who have been amazing team mates and friends.

"It has been great to play a part in helping many of our exciting younger players to develop and to start showing the consistent performances that we all knew they were capable of.

“I may be retiring from first class cricket but I hope to remain involved with the game at some level in a coaching capacity as I would love to be able to give something back to this wonderful game that has been so good to me over the years.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those people that have helped me through my career, I would like to mention them by name but there have been so many to whom I am very grateful, and in particular the Somerset supporters who have made me feel so welcome in my time here at the club."

Dave Nosworthy the Director of Cricket said: “It is always sad when someone like Steve, who has spent the whole of his working life in first class cricket is forced to retire through injury. He has made a great contribution to Somerset and he will certainly be missed around the dressing room.

“We would like to thank Steve for all that he has done during his time at Somerset and wish him well for the future.”