Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

The Gloves Are off in Wicketkeeper Battle ; Gareth Cross Is Facing a Challenge for His Lancs Spot from Young Alex Davies

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

The Gloves Are off in Wicketkeeper Battle ; Gareth Cross Is Facing a Challenge for His Lancs Spot from Young Alex Davies

Article excerpt

GARETH Cross has spent most of his Lancashire career fighting to be the club's No.1 wicketkeeper. Now he has won that battle, he is facing a real tussle to stay there.

Cross made an impressive start to his Red Rose career when, as a 21-year-old, he deputised for the injured Warren Hegg at Lord's at the end of the 2005 season.

But five frustrating years followed as Bury-born Cross found his way into the Championship side blocked by the more experienced Luke Sutton - who moved to Old Trafford from Derbyshire following Hegg's retirement.

Cross' patience was duly rewarded, however, in 2011 when, after Sutton returned to Derbyshire, he was handed the gloves by coach Peter Moores.

He played a key role in the club's first outright LV= County Championship title win in 77 years and has missed just two matches in the last two seasons in all forms of the game.

But now Cross is facing a role reversal, as he is the senior player being targetted by an upand-coming youngster. Alex Davies was given his chance by Moores in the final match of last season as he made his Championship debut against Surrey at Aigburth.

And the 18-year-old, who opened the batting for England Under- 19s in last year's World Cup in Australia, has now been given a professional contract by Lancashire.

Cross admits he is now in for a real fight for his place.

"There's pressure all the time in professional sport," said Cross.

"If you don't perform, you get dropped. I had a spell in 2011 when I wasn't really playing as well as I could, but there was no one else to come in.

"Alex now gives us that support. If he does well and I'm not, he'll play. I know I've got someone capable of playing first-team cricket pushing hard behind me.

"I've had it with Warren Hegg and Luke before he left.

"I pushed Luke hard before he left and then I got the chance.

"I had pushed hard for five years to get that spot.

"But obviously now there's somebody there wanting to take my spot.

"He's a good lad, and I get on with him really well. If he plays well and I don't, good luck to him.

"I did quite a lot of keeping work with him last year and a lot of technical stuff with Peter Moores as well."

Peter Moores as well."

Cross, along with most of the Red Rose squad who haven't gone abroad to play this winter, have been back in training since the first week of November as they prepare for a new season which they hope will see them promoted back to Division One after last season's relegation. …

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