Monmouth Cricket Club has made the “difficult decision” to withdraw its first XI from Division Two of the South East Wales League.

In a statement released by the club, the loss of “around 15 regular first-team players over the last two years” was cited as the reason for the move.

The club will continue to field its second, third and fourth teams, as well as their women’s team and junior sides, while Mike Maguire has taken over as acting chairman following Joe Atkinson’s decision to stand down for personal reasons.

“Monmouth Cricket Club’s committee, with support from the league, has made the difficult decision to withdraw from Division Two of the South East Wales Cricket League with immediate effect,” read the statement.

“Unfortunately, our club has lost around 15 regular first-team players over the last two years for a variety of reasons, including retirements, placing a significant strain on the existing playing membership this summer.

“We had hoped to reassess the situation at the end of the season but, with just six first-team players available for (last weekend’s) fixture at Brecon, it became apparent we had to act immediately to safeguard the future of the club and out of respect and integrity for the competition.

“We are deeply sorry to all our fellow clubs and friends in Division Two.

“We thank the league for their support and advice during such a difficult and challenging time.

“It’s not a decision that we have taken lightly, particularly as we were a Division One club just 12 months ago. But it was a unanimous decision made by the committee with the club’s best interests at heart.

“We firmly believe that we now have an exciting opportunity to rebuild the club from the base, laying strong foundations in the community as we move forward together.

“We are delighted to confirm that we will continue to field senior teams in Divisions 9, 12 and 13 East this season, a women’s team, and our junior teams.

“We would like to thank our departing first-team captain Ben Lander for all his efforts and unstinting grace since taking up the role last year in difficult circumstances.

“We would also like to thank our outgoing chair, Joe Atkinson, who has stepped down for personal reasons, for all his hard work and support.”