Abingdon Vale say they have pulled off a major coup by signing Oxford all-rounder Graham Charlesworth.

The 45-year-old has joined the MP Sports Cherwell League Division 2 side as a player, but will also be involved in coaching, especially with the juniors.

Charlesworth, who coaches Oxford University and played for the city club for the past eight seasons, stressed spending more time with his family was key to the move.

Vale’s cricket chairman, Dave Ward, said: “I think if you asked Oxford, they would be very disappointed to be losing someone like Charlie.

“From our point of view, it is an absolute coup.

“We are pleased he has made a family decision. He is someone we have been talking to for a couple of years.”

In light of recent allegations around the league, Ward also wanted to stress that Charle-sworth is not being paid.

Charlesworth said: “I love Home Counties cricket. I think it is one of the best leagues I have played in.

“This is more of a family decision to be honest. We live in Abingdon and now the kids are just getting interested in cricket.”

Charlesworth is looking forward to coaching his sons Luke, who is about to turn seven, and nine-year-old Ben, among Vale’s youngsters on Saturday mornings.

He said: “I have passion for playing cricket at a high level. I still feel I could be playing there [Home Counties], but with our kids at the age they are, it is time to be less selfish.

“Abingdon are a nice friendly club with a good social aspect.

“I’m doing cricket at a good level in my job and this is just a bit of relaxation at the weekend.

“It is pretty informal. I am just going to get a bunch of young kids together and see where we go.

“It is a chance to play some fun cricket.

“Over the winter I have worked with the county age group seamers. It will be nice for me to see them in action around the Cherwell League.

“I have learnt so much and want to pass on that knowledge.

“On the playing side, we’ll have a lot of fun. Winning the league would be great, but we are going to have fun.

“It would be great if we have 15-year-olds playing for us who go on to play for Oxford, Oxfordshire or further afield.

Ward added: “The vision with Abingdon is that we are a feeder club.”

Charlesworth has also set up Oxford Cricket Academy alongside Ward, and will be coaching six to 15-year-olds at different venues around Oxfordshire.

“My passion is getting young kids playing cricket,” said Charlesworth, who will particularly focus on developing under tens.

Ward said: “We are trying to identify good ball players. It may be that we find kids who have not played cricket before, but have a great throw for example.”