Mattie McKiernan named captain again by Leigh Cricket Club

Leigh Journal: Mattie McKiernan in action Mattie McKiernan in action

LEIGH Cricket Club’s Mattie McKiernan has set his sights on an improved 2014.

He has been confirmed as first XI captain for a second year and despite having had a great 2013, when the team finished in third in the ECB Premier League Liverpool and District Competition, the confident 19-year-old leg spinner is happy in the role and making the decisions that come with it.

“I’d captained age-group teams for both the district and for Lancashire,” said McKiernan.

“I’ve always enjoyed captaincy and the lads make me feel very comfortable. Having gained some experience in the role, I was more than ready to bowl myself or others as the occasion demanded.”

This year he will be without Richard Dempster, who has decided to test himself by playing for Walkden in the Bolton League, but while that loss is significant, it is almost acceptable when set against 2013 when Leigh coped so well with the absences of Jon Wells, Andy Batterley and Michael Baer.

“It looked as though it was going to be a transition year,” agreed McKiernan.

“So to finish in third place shows how well we responded to the challenge. In the previous season we had relied on the runs of Jon Wells and Steven Mullaney, so we all knew we had to up our games by 10 percent or so.”

McKiernan did that himself, scoring 475 runs and taking 59 wickets as Leigh re-established themselves among the Premier League’s elite.

But he was helped by Karl Brown, who topped 500 runs in 10 innings, and by Hamish Kingston, who hit 451 runs and took 32 wickets.

Brown’s appearances in 2014 will be dependent on his Lancashire commitments but McKiernan is very hopeful that Kingston will be returning to the club.

“Both parties are very keen to make it happen. We are definitely looking to strengthen in other areas, though, because while our first-team squad is good, it’s also quite small. I’m very hopeful we should be able to make one announcement in the near future and there are other names we are discussing.

“The hope is that we can be very competitive in the league and you never know what may come of that. But we certainly had a poor season in the cups in 2013 and that’s one area where we’ll certainly be looking to improve.”

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