Date: 22nd May 2024
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WILF JOHNSTONE 1929 - 2024

Date: 23rd April 2024

WILF JOHNSTONE 1929 - 2024


Incredibly sad news reaches us at Croxteth Drive with the passing of club legend, Wilf Johnstone, aged 94.

Born in Liverpool on September 9 l929, Wilf Joined Sefton as a Quarry Bank schoolboy in 1944, initially as a batsman. In 1949, he graduated to the Ist Xl as a right arm, fast-medium bowler, remaining in the Ist Xl until 1966, before finally retiring from Sefton cricket in 1969. Peter Hall describes Wilf as having "a nice easy action moving the ball away from the batsman".

Wilf developed a handy knack of taking hat-tricks - twice against Huyton CC (1952 and 1964); Chester Boughton Hall CC (1960), and against Northern CC (1962).

During his first team career he captured over 500 wickets in competition matches as he formed a formidable opening bowling partnership with Ray Digman throughout the 1950s.

Apart from his four hat-tricks, Wilf's most memorable cricketing achievement was his 9 for 28 off I5.2 overs against Birkenhead Park CC on July 1958 at Sefton Park. Park, with Alf Liggins, Bill Edgar, Norman Halsall and Tony Shillinglaw in the side were dismissed for 62 runs but Wilf's heroics with the ball allowed Sefton to win by seven wickets. He served as 1st XI captain between 1957-59.

Wilf did his National Service in the RASC (1947-1949), and was employed throughout his working life with lmperial Chemical lndustries. He married Evelyn Haynes in 1953 and they had three children: Margaret, Gill and Julie.

Wilf was honoured by the Club in 1979, being elected President after many years of dedicated service. He would hold the position until 1988. Robbie Robins said of him in 1989: "The Club has been indebted to this tireless worker for so many years that it becomes difficult to express appreciation without repetition - but we should express our gratitude and not allow his efforts to pass unnoticed."

A member of the Merseyside Cricket Society from the early 1990s, he was Chairman from 1997-2009 before becoming President between 2010-2014 and Honorary Life President from 2017 until the Society folded in 2023.

Peter Hall recalls: "As Wilf approached 90, Sylvia Parker, then President of Sefton Park CC, said she didn't know what the Club might give him for his many years of service. I suggesteda bench in the garden area. 'Isn't that usually done after the death of a member?' I told her I would have a chat with Wilf. He initially responded with the same comment as Sylvia, to which I said: 'Wouldn't you like to sit on your own bench?' 'That would be nice,' he replied. I bought a similar bench at the same time and they are next to each other.

"Wilf was one of the nicest persons I have ever known."

Wilf's enthusiasm for the game was a joy to behold, and his unswerving support for Sefton over many years, whether as a cricketer, member or committee man, will be gratefully remembered by all members, fellow cricketers and acquaintances.Generations of players will be remember his keen interest and support - it was nothing less than genuine.

A gentleman and loyal friend - Sefton without Wilf Johnstone will be hard to imagine.

With thanks to Sefton Park Cricket Club

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