"King Billy" has relinquished his Canterbury contract | PHOTOSPORT

Will Williams departs NZ cricket

Leading Canterbury seam bowler Will Williams has made a permanent transfer to Lancashire County Cricket Club and will not be back next summer.

Williams has accepted a three-year-contract by the English County on the back of strong performances for "the Roses" in recent weeks, having utilised his British passport for eligibility.

Williams has been a mainstay in Canterbury’s bowling attack in recent years, having debuted in 2012 alongside current Canterbury coach, Peter Fulton.

Fulton has mixed emotions as one of his key players makes a career move to England.

“On a personal level, I am really pleased for Will as this is great opportunity for him to secure his future as a cricketer. Lancashire is a club with great history, and I am sure Will is going to be an excellent addition for them,” Fulton said.<

“Obviously we are really disappointed to be losing Will from a Canterbury Cricket perspective. He has worked incredibly hard over the last eight to nine years to become a mainstay in our side.

"His skill with the ball and his durability will be hard to replace. We wish him well, and thank him for the years of service he has given to the province.”

Williams qualified to play for Lancashire by means of his British heritage and says the decision to remain in England wasn’t one he took lightly.

“It was a big life decision to use my British heritage to take up local player status and give up my ability to play in New Zealand. However, I feel this presented an incredible opportunity to learn and grow my game,” said the 29-year-old.

“Right from a young age it was my absolute dream to play for Canterbury, so I felt very fortunate every time I got to put the cap on. I’d like to say a massive thanks to all the staff at Canterbury Cricket and in particular, Peter Fulton, Brendon Donkers, and Dayle Hadlee, all of whom have helped me endlessly over the last 10 years."

Williams took 116 first-class wickets for Canterbury at an average of 22.90 and was the Major Association's bowler of the year in the 2020/21 season, after 31 Plunket Shield wickets at 17.03.

Williams’s guile and skill at the crease, along with his unwavering stamina, made him a force to be reckoned with, especially in the long format of the game.

Williams also broke his way into Canterbury’s white-ball teams, often bowling crucial ‘death’ overs at the end of an opposition’s innings.

Williams took a rare Domestic T20 hat-trick in 2020 against the Wellington Firebirds when he dismissed Fraser Colson, Lauchie Johns and Jamie Gibson.

Canterbury will name a replacement contracted player for the 2022/23 season in the coming weeks.

Will Williams: Canterbury Career

41 First Class Games, 116 Wickets at 22.90
41 One-Day Games, 51 Wickets at 31.43
37 T20 Games, 30 Wickets at 26.23
Total: 119 Games, 197 Wickets at 25.61

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