FC CLACTON new-boy Ricky Griggs admitted it was one of the toughest decisions of his life to part company with Brightlingsea Regent.

The 32-year-old is a legend at the Taydal Stadium, having been an integral part of the club's journey to step three of the non-league pyramid.

But after making more than 400 appearances, he recently decided the time was right for a fresh challenge - and promptly signed for Tendring neighbours Clacton.

His debut came in Saturday's 4-3 FA Vase second-round success at Saffron Walden Town and he ended up scoring twice, including one goal with only his second touch after just 42 seconds.

He said the decision to join was a "no-brainer" - despite interest from elsewhere - but admitted it was a wrench to leave Regent.

"It was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make," said the right-sided player.

"A lot of thought went into it and I wasn't myself for a couple of days, weighing everything up.

"Brightlingsea are such a great club.

"I had so many good times there and created memories I'll never forget.

"I really hope they push on and continue playing at step three level, because there are so many brilliant people over there, on and off the pitch.

"To have climbed through the divisions and reach that level is such an achievement and I'm proud to have played some part.

"I'll miss the club so much and am grateful to everyone there for what they've done for me.

"But all good things must come to an end and I know I've made the right decision in joining Clacton.

"There was quite a lot of interest in me but, in the end, it was a no-brainer. I'm happy and excited to be here."

Griggs is linking up with Clacton head coach Ryan Salter, who he was previously with at Regent.

And in terms of talent and potential, he sees parallels between his new club and his old one.

"Clacton are a really good club," he said.

"I already knew some of the lads but everyone has been so friendly and welcoming.

"Everyone is very positive and, in terms of potential, I see a lot of parallels with Brightlingsea.

"There are some great players here. I've been impressed and hopefully we can achieve something special together.

"I must admit it felt very odd to pull on a different shirt, other than a Brightlingsea one, on Saturday.

"(Clacton manager) Tom Austin told me to go out there and enjoy my debut and that's certainly what happened.

"I wanted to get off to a good start but never dreamt I'd score with my second touch, after 42 seconds.

"Then I got a second and it could have been a perfect hat-trick, as I hit the bar. I thought it was going into the top corner.

"It was an outstanding win and although it was nerve-wracking at the end, we dug deep and showed character.

"Saffron Walden is always a tough place to go but we got the right result and now we've been rewarded with a home draw.

"We've got a great chance to go through and will look forward to playing Eynesbury Rovers.

"We'll go into the game with real confidence.

"I know how exciting the Vase can be, having got through to the fifth round with Brightlingsea when we went up to the north-east and played Dunston UTS (losing 5-0 in February 2014).

"The whole experience was quality and I'd love a similar experience with Clacton."