WIGAN sporting stars past and present have told of their shock following the tragic death of Australian cricketer Phil Hughes.
Hughes, 25, lost his life two days after he was struck at the top of the neck while trying to evade a short-pitched delivery from bowler Sean Abbott in a domestic match.
Former Wigan Warriors star Pat Richards, an accomplished cricketer who was once a team-mate of Aussie skipper Michael Clarke, took to Twitter to pay his respects.
He said: “Shattered hearing this awful news. RIP Phil Hughes.”
Referring to the incident in which rugby league player Alex McKinnon suffered a broken neck, he added: “I’ve played footy and cricket since I was a kid and in one year have seen two freakish accidents that hopefully we never see again.
Ex-Wigan props Danny Sculthorpe and Eamon O’Carroll also took to Twitter.
Sculthorpe said: “So sad to hear of Phillip Hughes dying playing the game he loved. Prayers and thoughts are with his family.”
O’Carroll simply posted: “Such sad news. RIP Phillip Hughes.”
Former club cricketer John Ashurst, who co-owns AC Sports in Pemberton, described the incident which cost Hughes his life as “a freakish accident”.
He said: “I’ve never seen an incident like it in 50 years of playing and watching cricket. You never believe anyone will lose their life playing a game of cricket.
“It was a terribly tragic accident that no amount of protection could have prevented. Hughes turned his head at the last moment and tried to duck a short-pitched delivery and it struck him on the side of the neck.
“Malcolm Marshall once famously broke Mike Gatting’s nose with a bouncer but safety has moved forward a lot since then.”