Date: 19th Apr 2019
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Date: 2nd April 2015


A Paul Edwards copyright exclusive for L&DCC Official Website.

Skipper Forsyth says team is in good shape.

On those strange, mellow Saturdays at the end of a cricket season mere survival is often enough to prompt rowdy celebrations. In many cases these are quickly followed by a beery resolve that “this will never happen to us again,” and indeed, the fear of relegation is often enough to stimulate a careful reappraisal and a stiffening of nerve.
Sefton Park’s Richie Forsyth is certainly one skipper who is hoping that his players found the experience of nearly returning to the Second Division of the Med Imaging Liverpool Competition last September sufficiently unpleasant to ensure that they will not allow it to occur again. But Forsyth, whose first season in charge ended with that vital home victory over Rainford, has been encouraged in his optimism about the fresh campaign by the arrival of three new - or newish - players.
Returning to the club will be the former skipper Adam Irwin, whose prolific batting and shrewd advice will clearly be of value to his successor. Joining Irwin at Merseyside’s most picturesque cricket ground will be Mark Wilkie, who is adding a Sefton Park fleece to what might just be one of the largest collection of cricket sweaters and membership cards in the land. And finally, with many thanks to the Lancashire Cricket Board’s Dave Goodall, the young Barbadian batsman-wicketkeeper Jonathan Drakes will be arriving in England in time for Sefton Park’s home game against Newton-le-Willows on April 25.
It all helps to bolster Forsyth in the hope that his team will soon be challenging at the other end of what is often the Competition’s most closely contested division.
“Last year was quite difficult for me personally because we’d lost five or six players from the side that won promotion from Division Two,” he recalled. “The main objective was to retain our First Division status, which we did after a great game on the final day of the season. This year the hope is that a relatively young side has learned from the position we got ourselves into last time around. Certainly we’re hoping our season won’t be as dramatic as it was on the final day last year.”
Forsyth acknowledges that a decent start will be vital. In 2014 Sefton Park had to wait until their ninth game before recording a victory and it needed four wins in their last seven matches to keep them up. Certainly the experience supplied by Irwin and Wilkie should help prevent the batting collapses that bedevilled them.
“We’ve managed to get Mark to keep wicket for us and we’re hoping that his old head might stand us in good stead this year,” said Forsyth. “Who knows, he might even do an MS Dhoni and bowl a few overs for us.
“Adam’s work has brought him back to Liverpool and he
will make life a lot easier for me in terms of organising practice, for example. He’s a good trainer and he’s someone I can rely on for experienced advice.
“The good offices of the LCB’s Dave Goodall has brought us Jonathan Drakes from Barbados. He was in the same West Indies Under 19 World Cup squad as Jerome Jones, who played for us last year.  He’s from the same club as Jason Holder, so he has a decent pedigree.”
Forsyth is also bullish about the prospects of Sean Vandome repeating or exceeding his 2014 tally of 592 runs and he is hoping that Danny and Peter Kelly, who shared 57 wickets last year, will help plug the gap created by the absence of Jerome Jones, who scored 471 runs and dismissed 45 batsmen.
“Sean is the keenest I’ve ever seen him in pre-season,” said Forsyth. “He’s committed for the entire season and we’ve also got Dan and Peter to help get the wickets.
“Yes, the aim is to be looking at the other end of the table this summer. Last year’s standout sides were Formby and Highfield and they went up. The teams we might have down as the promotion favourites this year are those we competed with and beat last year. I think most captains would say that Division One was very open.
“There was such a fine line between us being promoted or going down on that last day. We could have been demoralised and back in Division Two. Now the togetherness that we fostered will lead us into the new season. 
A club like Sefton Park should be targeting the Premier League and that’s in our mandate. Now we can build on what we’ve achieved.”
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