SEFTON Park skipper Robbie Houghton has ended his 25-year stint with the Liverpool Competition club to join Irby.
The 36-year-old all-rounder believes the time is right to seek a new challenge and turned down an offer from Staffordshire side Kidsgrove before deciding to make the switch to the Cheshire County League outfit.
“Before I retire I want to try another league, play on new grounds and meet different people,” he said.
“I’d made up my mind that now was the time to do it. I’ll still go to Sefton Park when I can and I hope to finish my career there.”
Houghton’s departure will hit Sefton hard with the left-arm spinner having contributed 484 runs at an average of 48 and claimed 71 wickets at just 13 apiece in the Liverpool Competition First Division last season.
The travelling put him off joining Kidsgrove and a phonecall from Irby skipper Steve Hurworth convinced him heading for Wirral was the right move.
“Irby are ambitious and keen,” Houghton added. “People asked me to give it one more year but I’d been giving it one more year for a couple of seasons and I just felt now was the time.”
Hurworth said: “Both myself and Irby CC are extremely happy that someone of Robbie’s calibre has joined us.”
Paul Squires is expected to succeed Houghton as Sefton skipper but it won’t be ratified until next month’s AGM.