LONG-SERVING Irby cricketer Mike Newman has decided to hang up his boots after more than 40 years with the Wirral club. 

Mike, 55, joined Irby when he was aged 13, and twelve months later he had advanced to the second team.

He made his first team debut at the age of fifteen and has been a major force ever since.

As an opening batsmen, Mike scored more than 22,000 runs.

He captained Irby for seven years and has also held many other offices at the club, including president, chairman, social secretary and currently honorary treasurer.

He has been a one club man apart from a brief spell with Birkenhead Park in the early eighties and featured in well over 800 matches.

He said: "I have played solidly for forty years and am going to miss it a lot.

"I have really enjoyed my years at Mill Hill Road but have been finding it harder, especially fielding, and decided the time has come to call it a day."

Mike will still remain connected with the club and the family name will remain on the pitch, with his all-rounder son Mark, 25, and younger brother Dave, 50, playing regularly.

Mike's elder brother Paul also made appearances for Irby many years ago before moving down south.

"Mike has done just about everything for the club over many years. Such loyalty is not often the case these days," said a spokesman.