EMOTIONAL Chris Park said it “felt right” to hang up his Minor Counties gloves after 17 years of service to Dorset.

The wicketkeeper-batsman, who has skippered the county since 2014, announced his retirement with one game of the Unicorns Championship campaign remaining.

Bournemouth star Park will not take to the field against Berkshire at North Perrott on Sunday due to work commitments, meaning last week’s 272-run defeat to Devon was his last appearance.

The 35-year-old was given a guard of honour at Sidmouth after his final innings. Since then, he admitted he had been looking back at special memories since his debut in 2001.

Park told the Daily Echo: “Sidmouth was an emotional game for me. It was 17 years coming to an end and it was nice to have my family down there supporting and watching.

“I am not getting any younger and, with the production line of talent Dorset is trying to bring through, it just felt right to make that decision.”

Park was part of the Dorset side crowned 2010 Minor Counties Championship winners with a 135-run final triumph over Lincolnshire at Dean Park.

He also earned the opportunity to represent his county at Lord’s during the 2006 Minor Counties Knockout Cup final.

Formerly of Northamptonshire, the Lions captain insisted it was a privilege to take to the field alongside some of the game’s greats.

“The memories put a smile on your face,” he added.

“I remember playing against Yorkshire in the C&G Trophy at Dean Park – that was a huge honour to play against people like Darren Lehmann and Tim Bresnan.

“Representing the county in a Championship final and winning it was a huge honour.

“Playing at Lord’s is any cricketer’s dream so to tick that off my bucket list is one I will always remember as well.

“It was always on my horizon that I wanted to captain the county. To wear the shirt with pride and move the club forward through transitional periods.

“In the time I have been with Dorset, I have probably seen five or six completely different sides.

“It’s only until you finish that you look back at all the good times we had on and off the pitch. Now you can reminisce a little and think of all the memories.”

Park confirmed he was set to continue as Bournemouth skipper next season, having led the Chapel Gate side to the Southern League Division One crown.

Luke Webb is expected to captain Dorset in their final three-day fixture. Scott Currie, Bradley Currie and Hampshire’s Lewis McManus could all feature for the hosts.