Northamptonshire County Cricket Club has today announced that Richard Gleeson has left the County Ground to join Lancashire, with immediate effect.

The 30-year-old fast bowler initially joined Northamptonshire on a trial basis in 2015, but impressed enough in matches against Australia and Glamorgan to earn a game-by-game agreement in 2016, which in turn became a full contract a year later.

His blend of accuracy and pace earned plenty of admirers and while he did not play in the 2016 T20 Blast Finals Day he was an integral part of the side which reached the Edgbaston showpiece.

Despite missing a large part of the current season due to an elbow injury Gleeson had recently impressed in both the Vitality Blast and Specsavers County Championship, and he had one year remaining on his current contract.

Gleeson has requested a release from his contract for family reasons, which the Northamptonshire management has reluctantly accepted after coming to an agreement with Lancashire, who the bowler will join next week.

“Richard has a new baby and both he and his partner have their families in the north-west,” said Head Coach David Ripley. “We were very disappointed when he asked to be released from his contract but also understand his reasons why he wanted to move to be closer to the rest of his family.

“After coming to a suitable agreement with Lancashire we have released Richard with immediate effect. He’s been a good player for us over the last few years and he leaves with our good wishes.”

Gleeson thanked Ripley and the Northamptonshire management, players and supporters for making the County Ground home for the past three years.

“It wasn’t easy for me to talk to the club about leaving because the County Ground has been home to me for a few years,” he said. “Northamptonshire gave me my chance in first class cricket and I will always be grateful to Rips for giving me the opportunity. I will leave Northampton with some good mates and plenty of memories.

“I’d like to thank Rips and the rest of the club’s management for their understanding in releasing me from my contract, and wish Northamptonshire all the best for the rest of the season and the future.”