A SERIOUS back injury has prematurely ended Jack Sunderland's West Warrnambool tenure.
The English all-rounder succumbed to a back stress fracture in the Panthers' two-wicket triumph over Port Fairy last Saturday.
The Standard understands West Warrnambool will not seek a replacement overseas player.
Panthers coach Alastair Templeton said Sunderland's impact at Davidson Oval was "immense" and left the door open for a return in the future.
He said Sunderland's cricket workload - he has played six seasons in the past three years - had taken a toll on the all-rounder's body.
I can't express how appreciative I am for everything West Warrnambool has done for me and giving me the opportunities that I've had.Jack Sunderland
Sunderland, 26, said he was "forever grateful" for the opportunity to suit up for West Warrnambool.
"It's annoying, but the results from the doctor weren't great," he told The Standard.
"I would have been out for quite a while, so I came to the decision that heading home and getting myself right is the right thing to do.
"It's devastating for me, but I don't want it to take away from the amazing and really life-changing experiences I've had over the last two years."
The former cricketer of the year, who claimed 73 scalps across two seasons, hoped to return to Warrnambool in the future.
"If it's not for cricket, it'll be just to catch up with everybody," Sunderland said.
"I can't express how appreciative I am for everything West Warrnambool has done for me and giving me the opportunities that I've had."
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