THE 2014 Wigan Cricket Development T20 tournament got off to a flyer with the opening games dominated by centuries from a couple of the area’s teenage cricketing talents.
Leigh Redbacks kicked off the defence of their T20 crown with a convincing 135-run victory over local rivals Westleigh Lions.
Last year’s beaten finalists Wigan Wizards had an even more comfortable win at home against Standish Owls, 146 runs being their margin of victory.
Both games followed the same path as each host elected to bat first and then proceeded to dominate the visiting bowling.
At Beech Walk, the Redbacks overcame the early loss of ex-Lion Paul Keenan, to quickly pepper the boundaries with Mattie McKiernan and, initially Ross Zelem, then Adam Shallcross leading the way.
The Wizards meanwhile had the luxury of not losing an early wicket and also got quickly into their stride with a 142 opening stand between Matthew Critchley and Sam Sweeney.
Both Matt’s completed their destructive centuries in double quick time, McKiernan 103 (48 balls, 6x4’s, 8x6’s) and Critchley 100 (55 balls, 11x4’s, 3x6’s), to take their respective teams within a few runs of the iconic 200 mark. Both Sweeney and Shallcross also registered quick-fire half centuries.
Facing huge targets neither visitor really challenged and eventually succumbed some way short of their hosts.
Leigh’s 14-year-old all-rounder, Ben Smith chipped in with a cheap three-wicket haul, as did Sweeney at Wigan to complete his excellent personal night’s work.
More colourful cricketing action is coming soon, as the remaining eight teams start their campaigns over the next few nights.
Full details of fixtures, which culminate in the Grand Finals Day at Orrell Red Triangle on July 13, can be found at http://wigan2020.play-cricket.com or contact your local cricket club for information.
This week’s games are at Hindley St Peters (Tuesday 3rd June), Spring View (Wednesday), Norley Hall on Thursday and a triple header at Golborne, Highfield and Westleigh next Friday evening, all games starting at 6:15pm