SOMERSET CCC will be without the services of Charl Willoughby next season after it was announced that the left arm fast medium bowler is leaving the County Ground by mutual agreement.

Willoughby, 36, had been an almost permanent member of the Somerset championship side since joining from Leicestershire in 2006.

Somerset fans had first noticed Willoughby when he took 6-16 against the Cidermen at Grace Road in 2005 and that same season played for the Foxes in the final of the T20 when Somerset lifted the silverware.

The next season he joined Somerset and claimed 66 championship wickets to top the bowling averages. The following year with Andy Caddick he spearheaded the attack for Just Langer's side that lifted won the Second Division title.

In each of the six seasons that he has been at Taunton, the South African born Willoughby, who last year was granted British Citizenship, had topped 50 first class wickets and earlier this year made his 80th consecutive Championship appearance for Somerset, an impressive achievement for an opening bowler.

This season he played in the first 16 championship matches before making way for some of the younger bowlers, but he still ended with 53 wickets, including a best of 6-76 against India.

During his six years with the county Willoughby played in 95 first class games and took 347 wickets at an average of 27.49.

Somerset director of cricket, Brian Rose, said: “Charl has been a key member of our team since he joined us in 2006.

“His record in championship games in particular, has been outstanding and his partnership in the 2007 with Andrew Caddick was the major reason the team gained promotion that year and laid the foundation for future success."

Rose added: "Charl has been a model professional in terms of preparation, fitness and attitude and has been an inspiration to our younger bowlers consistently advising them on their skills and technique.

“He will leave a great legacy. We wish him and his family all the best for their future. They will always find a home and the best of welcomes in Somerset."

Meanwhile the Taunton area annual meeting of Somerset CCC will be taking place in the County Room on Wednesday, November 9, starting at 7.30pm.