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Ralph William Osborne (1940-2023) - an appreciation

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

Born in Liverpool on April 18, Ralph Osborne was educated at the famous Liverpool Institute for Boys around the same period as both Sir Paul McCartney and George Harrison also attended.

He joined Sefton CC as a schoolboy in 1952 and by 1957 he was representing the 1st XI where he could become a regular until 1973 when he moved to Formby.

Ralph, who was a stockbroker by trade, would go on to hit 8,292 runs at an average of 31. in 283 matches whilst at Sefton with a highest score of 158 at Northern on July 20 1963. In all he hit six centuries and 56 fifties while also taking 116 catches.

In 11 consecutive seasons, from 1962-1973, Ralph would finish top of Sefton's batting averages seven times and only once failed to reach 500 runs.

During this time Ralph would play a vital role in both of Sefton's championship winning sides of 1967 and 1972 and was also captain of the club for the 1970-71 season.

Ralph pictured with the Championship winning Sefton side of 1967

Writing on the occasion of Ralph's last game for Sefton , Liverpool Echo cricket correspondent, Harold Wolfe, said: "An important era in Sefton Cricket Club's history ended on Sunday when Ralph Osborne, one of the finest batsmen the Club has ever had and one of the most outstanding cricketers in the Liverpool Competition over the last decade, played his last last game."

Ralph himself, said: "Sefton CC was a great Club to join as a schoolboy and to progress with, especially winning two championships and being captain."

Ralph's teammate and fellow Club legend, Ted Williams, said: "He has been the backbone of the Sefton side for many years. The greatest compliment I can pay him is it is difficult to imagine a Sefton side without him."

'Ossie' was also a great lover of touring and represented MCC (including tours to USA in 1992 and Canada in 1994) and played over 50s cricket for Lancashire between 1991 and 2002.

He also played for the Rabbits CC, a Sunday side in the 1950s and 1960s, comprised mainly of Sefton and Bootle cricketers.

Ralph also played rugby union and had a season with Waterloo's 2nd XV.

Ralph would move to Hightown CC where he played from 1974 to 1996 becoming captain, chairman and eventually president.

A spokesperson for Hightown St Mary's CC said: "Ralph scored almost 20,000 runs for Hightown at an average of 33.44, with 17 centuries and 132 fifties.

"In 1986 he famously faced West Indian fast bowler Curtly Ambrose, who became one of the finest and most destructive bowlers the game has ever seen, scoring a brave 44 (without a helmet!) out of a Hightown total of 131. He came off the field covered in cricket ball sized bruises where the ball had been hitting him repeatedly at 90mph.

"He continued to be a member of the club, even donning the pads again for our centenary year celebration in 2007, and regularly attended our Friends of Hightown lunches with his wife Dot.

"Ralph was a wonderful cricketer, a huge presence for so many years and a magnificent man. Everyone at the club sends their heartfelt condolences to his wife Dot, children Julian and Liz and all the family. May he rest in peace."

Ralph (centre, front row), pictured with Hightown CC

In total, Ralph scored 18,530 runs in 628 Liverpool Competition league matches at an average of 32.62.

He claimed 128 wickets, 107 of them for Hightown. with a best bowling of 5-37 for Sefton against Hightown on July 2 1966.

Ralph died in early April 2023 just short of his 83rd birthday.

Everyone at Sefton Park CC would like to extend their sincerest condolences to Ralph's wife Dot, children Julian and Liz and their families. 5 447

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