Date: 29th May 2022
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FIVE OF OUR OWN. DAY 5. MATTIE McKIERNAN

Date: 30th December 2021

FIVE OF OUR OWN. DAY 5. MATTIE McKIERNAN

Leigh and Derbyshire

Day 5.

Mattie McKiernan, one of the leading players in the Liverpool Competition in the last ten years or so, is now pursuing his dream. “I’ve never really wanted to do anything else” said the 27 year old batter, bowler or all-rounder from Leigh (depending on who you are talking to). After what seems like a long time trying, Mattie has found a home with Derbyshire County Cricket Club and now in his fifth year, is insistent that this is just the start.

It all began for a young Mattie McKiernan playing cricket with his dad,Tim, himself a handy performer with the Leigh Club for over four decades. “I always wanted to follow in my Dad’s footsteps and play cricket, and both he and my Mum have been a massive support for me throughout the years.” Mattie entered the Lancashire pathway a year young, and after two years in the under 11s, progressed through every age group, mostly as captain, to the Academy. With Alex Davies and Gavin Griffiths in the same squad, this proved to be yet another productive Lancashire age group.

By this time, Mattie had made his Liverpool Competition 1st XI League debut when aged 15 against Highfield. “I remember the game well” he says.“It was Karl Brown’s first game for Leigh, after his move from Milnrow.” He also remembered being out LBW for a duck, and had an inkling thinking back, that the bowler was Chris Liptrot, a former County player with Worcestershire.

McKiernan has played at Leigh for over seventeen years, broken only by a one year spell at Richmondshire, where he was instrumental in the club winning the ECB National Club Championship, and still looks forward to playing for his home town club whenever he can. “It’s brilliant to go back and play with lads I grew up with and where I have many happy memories. I love playing in the Comp and genuinely think that it is one of the best Leagues in the Country, in terms of the standard of teams, the standard of pitches and its overall administration.” He particularly remembers the 2015 and 2016 seasons, when in the former year, Leigh had to fight “tooth and nail with a young squad”, to avoid relegation from the Premier Division and then became League Champions the year after. “Never to be forgotten.” 

Although he made over fifty appearances for Lancashire 2ND X1, Mattie fully understands why he was not taken on, with a number of promising spin bowlers on the scene, most notably Matthew Parkinson. He is full of praise for the guidance he received from John Stanworth and Gary Yates, and also cites Leigh colleagues Karl Brown, Steven Mullaney and Luis Reece as big influences on his career. Mattie also benefitted from his three year spell in Tasmania playing with South Hobart, an opportunity created by Leigh’s overseas player Hamish Kingston.  

Determined to pursue a career in cricket, the young leggie, now being regarded as a more than useful batter, turned out for the Unicorns as well as having a successful stint in the Cumberland side. After short trial spells with Hampshire and Derbyshire, he made his debut for the latter County in 2018 in the T20 Blast, ironically against Lancashire at Old Trafford. His First Class debut came 12 months later against Sussex after recovering from a stress fracture, which has impeded his progress during recent seasons.

Now with Micky Arthur at the helm and officially classified on his County’s website as an all-rounder, Mattie cannot wait for 2022.  Fully recovered, he is “looking to crack on as much as possible, to keep improving and to take advantage of every chance I get”. To a lad who has fought hard to make the best of himself and pursue his dream, we would expect nothing less.

 

    

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