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Edness retires from Cup Match

Looking back: Jekon Edness has announced his retirement from Cup Match after keeping wicket in Somerset’s innings victory last week (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Somerset have been forced to make at least one change to their squad for the defence of their Cup Match title at Wellington Oval next year.

Jekon Edness, the wicketkeeper and former captain, announced his retirement shortly after the West Enders secured an historic landslide victory over St George’s at Somerset Cricket Club last Friday.

The 34-year-old Western Stars player cited the significant toll that his physically demanding role behind the stumps has taken on his body over the years, diminishing motivation and the ideal timing to bow out as the catalyst behind his decision.

“My motivation level is going lower really along with wicketkeeping not getting any easier on my back and fingers,” Edness said.

“I don’t even keep too much for my club team just to save my legs for Cup Match.

“Everybody has their time and I’ve had my time. With my finger and back hurting and motivation levels going down, it doesn’t make sense any more — so let someone else do it and I will help out wherever I can.

“Also, the time was right for someone else to come in to keep the development going. With the team being as strong as it is, it will be easier for someone else to come in and blood a younger wicketkeeper during our period of dominance instead of when the tide turns again.”

Edness had contemplated retiring from the annual summer classic much earlier, but opted not to in the best interest of the team.

“It’s something I have been thinking of for the past couple of years since I stopped being captain,” he said. “I knew Janeiro [Tucker] and Jacobi [Robinson] were leaving and so I bit the bullet and hung in because we don’t want too many players leaving at one time.”

Edness achieved 17 dismissals, including 14 catches and three stumpings, in 13 appearances for Somerset between 2006 and 2018 and bows out in eighth on the all-time list of dismissals by a wicketkeeper in Cup Match.

The son of Anthony Manders, the former Stars and Somerset Cup Match wicketkeeper, scored 317 runs from 16 innings with a high score of 73 and average of 19.81.

Edness made his Cup Match debut in 2006 and five years later was appointed Somerset captain.

He led them to three victories in a five-year stint as captain, including the West Enders’ first at Wellington Oval in 34 years.

“We were struggling for a period and to finally beat them in 2012 in my second year as captain was big,” Edness said. “Then to beat them again in 2015 down in St George’s was also a major accomplishment because it was something that hadn’t been done since 1981 when Joe Bailey was captain.”

Edness cited losing Cup Match on his debut as captain when Somerset were then challengers and not reaching personal milestones he “set out as a youngster” among his biggest disappointments in the Classic.

The player bowed out on a victorious note after Somerset thumped St George’s by an innings and 34 runs, their biggest win in 70 years and the first “two-to-one” triumph by either team in 51 years.

“That was definitely a major achievement and it is definitely good to be a part of something special that hasn’t happened for Somerset in 70 years,” Edness said.

“It’s been a good ride and thanks to Somerset for staying together from 2011 when I first took over to now.

“We have developed into a top team. A team with culture, a team with determination, a team with character and it shows how we represented ourselves in the field in good times and in tough times.”