Derbyshire's rocky season continues with the news that three players are leaving the club with immediate effect.

Stephen Moore, the opening batsman, has announced his retirement, Peter Burgoyne, the allrounder who has not played this season due to a stress-related illness has mutually agreed an end to his contact, and Richard Johnson, the wicketkeeper, has opted to pursue his studies having also been out of the side due to illness.

Moore quits midway through a season where he has been a regular in all formats and is currently Derbyshire's leading run-scorer in the Championship with 474 runs at 31.60.

"Stephen's decision has come as a bit of a shock, but we respect that it's right for him and wish him all the best for the future," Graeme Welch, Derbyshire's elite performance director, said. "A spot is now available at the top of the order, in all competitions, for our other batsmen to make their own and that's an exciting opportunity for them.

"Meanwhile, our strategy to target experienced match winners to blend with our promising young cricketers will continue."

Meanwhile, Burgoyne, who has been supported by the club and the PCA since his break from the game was announced in March, has said he still has ambitions to resume his career in the future.

"It's been a tough few months and a tough decision but I am really looking forward to playing club cricket again for a few months before making a decision about my future," he said. "I eventually would like to return to the first-class game but only when I feel 100% ready to do so."

Chief executive Simon Storey said: "Peter is a promising young cricketer and we have seen several glimpses of his potential in his appearances for Derbyshire.

"Whilst we are disappointed to lose his talent at this stage in his career, we have worked very closely with the player and the PCA over the last few months and given the circumstances, we respect his decision."

Johnson's illness was confirmed more quietly by the club after he had started the season in the Championship side. He has recently been playing club cricket for Knowle and Dorridge in the Birmingham and District Premier League and has decided to relocate back to the Midlands to continue his commence studies.

"I'd like to place on record my sincere thanks to my team-mates, the coaching staff and the admin team at Derbyshire for their support during my time with the club," he said. "They have a terrific set-up which is not easy to leave but I know I'm making the right decision for my long term future."

Welch added: "It's about the club supporting what's best for Richard, a young man we all respect for his hard-work and dedication to his own development. Whether his future career is to be in cricket, or elsewhere, I know he'll be successful and we wish him all the best."

Derbyshire's season has been beset by difficulties, including the tragic events surrounding Tom Poynton who was injured in the car crash that claimed the life of his father.

Tim Groenewald, who has been the club's leading seam bowler in recent seasons, recently signed a loan deal with Somerset for the remainder of the season having said he would not agree a new contract with Derbyshire which subsequently led to him being dropped.