LYME Regis defender Alex Rowe admitted his decision to retire from playing has been long in the making after more than 300 appearances for the club.

After starting in the Lyme side that beat Colyton 4-3 two Saturdays ago, Rowe opted to hang up his boots following a 12-year stint with the Seasiders.

And the 32-year-old, who remains on the club’s committee, revealed a combination of factors had influenced his decision.

“I’ve thought about it for a while, to be honest,” he told the Bridport & Lyme Regis News.

READ MORE: Lyme Regis 4-3 Colyton - report

“I’m 32 now and I’ve got another child on the way, due in a couple of months, and I’m moving house in a few weeks.

“I was tempted at the end of last season to hang my boots up because it felt like quite a natural place but my wife persuaded me to give it one more season.

“In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have because I don’t quite enjoy it as much as I used to.

“It’s been a long stint at Lyme and I’ve loved it. I just felt other priorities take priority after a while.”

Rowe, who informed his clubmates via the team group chat to avoid a fuss, listed his favourite moments in a Lyme shirt as cup wins in the reserve team under ex-boss and current chairman Gerard Hitchcock.

Rowe, who captained the Seasiders’ second string, was part of the side that won back-to-back Football Express Cups in 2017 and 2018.

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Alex Rowe skippered Lyme Reserves to back-to-back Football Express Cups in 2017 and 2018Alex Rowe skippered Lyme Reserves to back-to-back Football Express Cups in 2017 and 2018 (Image: ALEX ROWE)

In 2018, Lyme defeated arch-rivals Elmore Reserves 5-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw, retaining the silverware they won in 2017 after a 1-0 triumph over North Tawton.

Rowe added: “Since I’ve been in the first team it’s not been particularly successful, we’re going through a transition era at the moment.

“We had some good cup wins under Gerard, he was my manager for a number of years and that’s probably when we had the most success – and the nights that always followed!”

And the transition era that Rowe highlights is currently in full swing, with the club searching for a new first-team boss.

A loss of key players and a need for fresh blood have pitted Lyme in 12th of the 14 teams in the Devon & Exeter League Premier Division this season.

Rowe added: “I think it’s quite natural around all clubs. There’s teams folding everywhere and the youth don’t seem to be as interested.

“When I joined Lyme, back then, you stayed at the club every Saturday night, you lived for football, you breathed for football.

“You had breakfast with your team. I just don’t think they’ve got that mentality any more.

“Lyme’s in a transition where we’re all in our thirties, most of us have got kids and there’s not as many youth (players) as there used to be to pick from.

“That’s probably the main reason. Infrastructure-wise, it’s still superb. It’s a lovely pitch, ground and a great committee.”

And Rowe issued a final word of gratitude to the Seasiders for his time at Davey Fort.

He said: “My best friends still play for Lyme and I’m on the committee, for pretty much the whole 12 years.

“My dad’s on the committee and he played for Lyme his whole life, so it’s still a massive part of me and my family. We’ll watch the games and it’s in my heart, it always will be.

“I guess just a thank you to everyone for the backing and support. We had great support for Lyme and the good times we’ve had.

“Gerard being my manager for so many years, I’m thankful for him putting his trust in me and for all the good memories, all the off-the-pitch stuff that you can’t get back in any other environment.

“Football’s very different to your normal walk of life and how you act with all the lads, so it’s just a ‘thank you’ for all the good memories, I suppose.”