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Sunday, 16 September, 2001, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
End of season clear out
Gloucestershire have released batsman Rob Cunliffe
Gloucestershire have released batsman Rob Cunliffe
The end of each season is a time to clear out the old pros and hunt for new talent. BBC Sport Online brings you up to date.

For a county who are experiencing rather a lot of success these days, it seems surprising that Gloucestershire have released so many players.

In all, six players have either requested to leave or have been asked to pursue their careers elsewhere.

Of them, seamer Mike Cawdron and batsman Rob Cunliffe seemingly have the talents to go on and prosper with other counties.

Cawdron played in the 1999 NatWest final triumph against Somerset and in no way disgraced himself.

The biggest enigma at the club is Cunliffe. The 27-year-old has a first class 190 to his name, and has had much success in one-dayers, hitting three hundreds.

Former Essex skipper Paul Prichard has been released
Former Essex skipper Paul Prichard has been released
But although a classy player, he has never found real consistency in form and has consequently suffered when dropped by his county.

The bowlers Damian Forder and Tom Cotterell have had limited opportunities and Michael Sutliff is a reserve wicketkeeper who has played just twice.

But another reserve keeper leaves in strange circumstances. Reggie Williams has been marked down as a possible successor to Alec Stewart in the England job.

But with Gloucestershire deciding that Steven Pope will keep for the second XI - Jack Russell continues for the first team - Williams has decided to leave the club.

Essex, meanwhile, could do a lot worse than approaching Cawdron and Cunliffe.

  Departing players
Gloucestershire: Rob Cunliffe, Mike Cawdron, Reggie Williams, Tom Cotterell, Damian Forder, Michael Sutliff.
Essex: Stuart Law, Paul Prichard, Peter Such, Tim Mason, Michael Davies.
Hampshire: John Stephenson, Simon Francis, Zac Morris, Andrew Sexton.
Nottinghamshire: Greg Blewett, Richard Stemp, Chris Hewison.
Durham: Martin Speight, Nick Speak.
Middlesex: Mike Roseberry, James Hewitt.
Sussex: Nick Wilton.
Warwickshire: Vasbert Drakes, Gavin Franklin, Ryan Sierra.
Derbyshire: Ray Illingworth, Trevor Smith,Stephen Titchard, Alex Edwards, Zubair Khan.
Lancashire: Mike Atherton, Ian Austin, Joe Scuderi, Richard Green.

They came bottom of division one in the Championship, and have said goodbye to veterans Paul Prichard and Peter Such, plus Australian star Stuart Law, who had really fallen out with the county.

Essex have also released two other spinners, Michael Davies - only a year after he joined from Northamptonshire - and Tim Mason.

Graham Gooch returns to coach and has a rare old job on his hands to bring the good times back at Chelmsford.

Nottinghamshire are another county struggling to make an impression and manager Clive Rice has dispensed with the services of Greg Blewett.

It is something of a sacrifice, because Blewett has done nothing wrong, but what Rice needs are bowlers.

Also leaving Nottinghamshire are 33-year-old spinner Richard Stemp and 21-year-old batsman Chris Hewison.

Mike Roseberry has ended his long association with Middlesex
Mike Roseberry has ended his long association with Middlesex
Hampshire are another county clearing out their locker. John Stephenson, who opened the batting for England in a single Test in 1989 while at Essex, will be 37 before next season starts.

And joining him on the way out are three pros in their early 20s, Simon Francis, Zac Morris and Andrew Sexton.

Francis has been troubled by injury and has the bad luck to play for a team with a wealth of bowling talent at their disposal.

At Durham, former captain Nick Speak and wicketkeeper Martin Speight leave.

But Australian-born all-rounder Ashley Thorpe and three youngsters from the academy are promoted to a squad in which 16 of the 22 will be locally-raised players.

Veteran Michael Roseberry has retired from Middlesex and they have released the 25-year-old James Hewitt.

Warwickshire, who want Shaun Pollock as their overseas player in 2002, have released the disappointing Vasbert Drakes, young all-rounder Gavin Franklin and South Africa-born left-hander Ryan Sierra.

Sussex have released reserve keeper Nick Wilton, while Derbyshire have seen four players fail to win contracts.

Trevor Smith,Stephen Titchard, Alex Edwards and Zubair Khan have all been released, while injury-plagued Richard Illingworth has retired.

The county have signed 23-year-old South African batsman Andrew Gait.

See also:

16 Sep 01 |  Counties
The ups and the downs
15 Sep 01 |  Lancashire
Red Rose must bloom again
15 Sep 01 |  Counties
Champions succumb to Essex
14 Sep 01 |  Counties
Hutchison heads for Hove
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