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Date: 23rd April 2012
A Paul Edwards copyright exclusive for L&DCC Official Website.
Club's strategy is firmly rooted in commitment.
Most cricket fans associate Wigan's recent performances with the accomplishments of their adopted New Zealand Test cricketer Aaron Redmond, but Bull Hey skipper Mark Rowe insists that the club's strategy is firmly rooted in a commitment to develop its own stars.
"We're not concerned about signing big name players," he said, "we're more interested in giving our younger cricketers the opportunity to become the big names of the future." To that end Wigan have recruited Chris Highton, a Level III coach and the LCB's Community Cricket Co-ordinator in Bolton, to be their new coach, and the club also boasts six new Level II coaches to help develop its junior talent.
"Our main effort over the winter went into increasing our complement of coaches," said Rowe. "Our junior co-ordinator Steve Martlew is one of those quiet heroes that any club needs and he's helped us recognise the need to improve our junior set-up. We see it as one of the fundamental responsibilities of the club."
All of which makes it a little ironic that without going out and actively recruiting players Wigan have been strengthened this season by the arrivals of Adam Sixsmith from Orrell Red Triangle and Ryan Ouwerkerk from Winstanley Park.
Both players have made major contributions to their side's bright start to the season, Sixsmith making an unbeaten half-century in the win over Skelmersdale and Ouwerkerk taking 3-40 as Liverpool were defeated by 56 runs on Saturday.
"I've found it's very rare that you go a week without someone being unavailable," said Rowe, "so having a larger squad of players to choose from is helpful. As for Aaron, everyone knows his commmitment to Wigan, he's over here already and he's determined to score big this season." Given that Redmond plundered 1,002 runs in the First Division in 2011, one rather wonders exactly what he defines as "big".
"We're really looking forward to First Division cricket this year," said Rowe. "The sides that have come down, Northop Hall and Newton-le-Willows, are decent teams, as are the promoted clubs and we visit Ainsdale on the first day of the league season. All the same, our main focus will stay on the fundamentals of any club: facilities, junior cricket and coaching."
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