Howzat for new DW Stadium sport

The DW Stadium is to host Twenty20 cricket!

Friday, 1st April 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 2nd April 2016, 5:55 am

Following the success of staging both Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors matches on the same day at the Robin Park venue, it will soon also be echoing to the sound of leather on willow.

So improved and smooth is the newly-laid turf that MCC inspectors have given it their seal of approval for future T20 Blast matches.

It is a real coup for Wigan which, more than a decade ago, harboured ambitions to be the new home of Lancashire cricket.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

When the county club was at odds with Trafford council about ground improvements it spoke to the Wigan local authority about the possibility of building a new base near the Three Sisters racetrack at Bryn. It was even ventured that it might be the first cricket ground in England with a retractable roof.

That came to nought after it emerged that Lancs CCC was calling Trafford council’s bluff and so it stayed at its long-term base.

But now, perhaps as a belated apology for messing Wigan around, the reigning T20 Blast champions have agreed in principle to play an exhibition match at the DW with a view to staging official fixtures in the future.

This shortest form of the game has never been more popular and of course England are due to play in the T20 World Cup final this weekend, further raising its profile, so a good turn-out is expected.

An all-stars team, captained by Wigan CC’s skipper and former New Zealand international Aaron Redmond, is set to take on the current Lancashire squad at a date yet to be fixed in July. At that time of the year the footballers will at least be on their summer break although the Super League will still be in full sway.

Because of the shape of the stadium and the hardness of cricket balls, everyone in the crowd will be issued with crash helmets and goggles.

The windows of the directors’ boxes and hospitality suites will also be criss-crossed with gaffer tape to minimise injury from breakages.

A stadium spokesman said: “This is a major step forward for the DW. We are already a multi-tasking sports venue, hosting both football and rugby league. Now we are extending our sporting reach further.”

The spokesman said that the club, always keen to balance the books, was also considering hosting polo matches, although there could be some logistical issues with getting the horses onto the field of play...and manure removal.

Oh, and Happy April Fools Day :)