Duo 10th Fret combine cricket and music

10th Fret
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TWO young cricketers have been hitting audiences for six with their musical as well as sporting ability after forming an acoustic duo.

Highfield Cricket Club first-team batsman and junior coach Mike Gaskell and under-13s squad member Sam Birchall got together to form 10th Fret after winning the club’s annual talent contest with their version of a McFly song last year.

The duo decided to continue making music together and have since played at cricket club functions and venues around Wigan, as well as starting to develop their own songwriting ideas.

The success of 10th Fret is all the more impressive as Hawkley Hall High School pupil Sam is just 13, with the 10-year age gap between the two musicians giving the group, which features both Mike and Sam playing acoustic guitar and singing, its name.

Garswood musician Mike, 23, said: “I’d entered the talent competition at the club a few times and I knew Sam played guitar a bit, so I asked him if he wanted to do something for it and we won.

“We went down very well at a club event after that and decided to keep going. Since then we’ve been building up a bit of a repertoire.

“We work together very well. Sam brings a very fresh and energetic outlook to things. Having an age gap is a good combination because it means we have different approaches and suggest different songs to do.

“So far we’ve mainly done covers but in the long run we want to produce our own songs.”

In the short time 10th Fret has been on the Wigan music scene the group has developed a wide repertoire of covers, ranging from songs by modern acts such as The Killers and Jake Bugg to classic tracks by the likes of Buddy Holly and The Beatles.

The two musicians took rather different routes into performing, with Sam picking up a guitar aged eight in an after-school music class and immediately taking to the instrument and Mike discovering his passion for music just seven years ago after attending a live Bon Jovi concert in London.

The duo is currently enjoying picking up gigs and working on material, although with spring on the way they say they will have to be careful to ensure their commitments at the crease do not clash with any potential gigs.

Mike said: “I wasn’t really interested in music at school, I only got into the live scene as I was leaving. I went to my first concert and my interest has just been picking up ever since.

“Throughout the winter the music has been going really well, but once the season started it could be a bit more difficult to fit it in around the longer away trips.

“Cricket is also a big influence for both of us, so we might be able to put some bits of our sport knowledge into a song as well.”

For more information about the band, visit www.10thfret.co.uk