A WIRRAL Cricket team is mourning the loss of one of their players after he tragically died last week.

Birkenhead Park Cricket Club’s opening batsman Josh Downie was taken ill while in the practice nets on Thursday and passed away later that evening. He was 24.

In posts on its Facebook page, Birkenhead Park CC said: “It is with incredible sadness that we give notice of the passing of 24-year-old Josh Downie. First team opening batsmen for BPCC.

“We offer our deepest sympathies to his family at this dreadful time.”

Mr Downie, who was also a PE Teacher at Lord Derby Academy, is understood to have suffered a heart attack.

Wirral Globe: Birkenhead Park Cricket Club. Photo: FacebookBirkenhead Park Cricket Club. Photo: Facebook

Speaking to the BBC, his mother Helen said that he had no known health problems and his death had “left a massive hole in our lives”.

“It’s just completely out of the blue,” she said. “It doesn’t seem real at the moment.”

Mrs Downie was called just after 8pm on Thursday by her son’s girlfriend, who advised that he had been taken to hospital.

Doctors were unable to resuscitate him.

The Birkenhead batsman is the brother of Olympian gymnasts Becky and Ellie Downie.

The sisters are both currently attempting to qualify for this year’s Tokyo Olympics and Becky has vowed to carry on in memory of Josh.

She Tweeted: “The hardest three days of my life but I didn’t come this far to only come this far.

“I know Josh would want me to take it as far as I could go and I owe it to myself to finish what I started. Doing it for us both.”

Originally from Nottinghamshire, Mr Downie only moved to Merseyside last September to start a new teaching job and settle down with his girlfriend in the area, before joining BPCC.