CLIMBING Mount Kilimanjaro allowed Matt Lock to realise it was the right time to leave his role as player-coach at Canvey Island and confirm his retirement.

Lock joined the Gulls from Isthmian North rivals Coggeshall Town in October and went onto make 20 appearances.

But Canvey boss Mark Bentley revealed Lock - who grabbed his only Gulls goal during his final appearance in the 4-4 draw with Heybridge Swifts last month - has left Park Lane and walked away from non-league football.

“Locky has decided to retire,” said Bentley.

“Family commitments meant he didn’t feel it was right to continue and his work off the pitch has taken off as well.

“Locky was very honest and told me he had lots of time to think about his future when he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro a few weeks ago.

“He felt the time was right to hang his boots up and he does so having enjoyed a great career.

“Locky is a great lad and the timing is a shame because I felt he was coming into his own at the club.

“But family has to come first and I respect his decision.”

Lock came out of retirement and finished last term with Bowers & Pitsea as the club romped home to the Isthmian North title.

As a result, Bowers were able to secure their place in the third tier of non-league football for the first time in the club’s history.

However, Lock departed the Len Salmon Stadium and joined Coggeshall.

But the experienced midfielder’s spell with Coggeshall proved to be brief and Lock made the move to Canvey, where he produced the goods on the pitch as well as off it in a coaching role.

Meanwhile, the Gulls were involved in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Isthmian North strugglers Felixstowe & Walton United on Tuesday.

Canvey into a two-goal lead thanks to goals from Jason Hallett and Mike Finneran, who has now netted three times in his last four appearances.

However, Felixstowe turned the contest on its head thanks to a Callum Bennett brace and Oliver Canfer effort.

It looked as though the Gulls would leave empty-handed, but Sam Bantick grabbed the leveller six minutes into injury time.

And Bentley was keen to focus on the positives.

“It was frustrating to only draw after being in a great position at 2-0,” added Bentley.

“The first half performance was a big positive for us and the boys responded after the defeat to Great Wakering Rovers on Saturday.

“But we didn’t start the second half well and they put us under a lot of pressure.”