Cowan quits with knee injury

ESSEX S Hitchin-born fast bowler Ashley Cowan has been forced to retire from first-class cricket due to a persistent knee injury. Cowan, 31, who attended Kingshott School, toured the Caribbean with England in 1997-98 but never played in a Test. Cowan, who

ESSEX'S Hitchin-born fast bowler Ashley Cowan has been forced to retire from first-class cricket due to a persistent knee injury.

Cowan, 31, who attended Kingshott School, toured the Caribbean with England in 1997-98 but never played in a Test.

Cowan, who later attended Framlingham School in Suffolk, made his first class debut in 1995 and his last appearance for Essex was in May last year.

Talking on the Essex website Cowan said: "I am retiring due to a chronic knee injury. I would love to continue my first class playing career but sadly it is just not possible for me to perform anymore."

Cowan underwent a major operation in 2003 and spent a year out of the game in rehabilitation returning to action in the second half of the 2004 season.

"I have had a fantastic 12 years in the game but now it is time to give the youngsters a chance," added Cowan.

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"Unfortunately every cricketer's career comes to and end but for some it is earlier than others.

"I've had some fun along the way but my body has told me enough is enough."

Cowan, whose father Jeff played in the successful Hitchin Town FA Amateur Cup sides of the lates 50s and early 60s as an outstanding central defender, was awarded a benefit by Essex this year.