Brown and Mullaney help Leigh open up a 27 point lead
Friday 2nd July 2010

Leigh skipper Dave Dove hopes that the passion and skill of Lancashire’s Karl Brown and Nottinghamshire’s Steven Mullaney will help his team resist the challenge posed by Merseyside clubs this season.

The Beech Walk club has a 27 point cushion at the top of the First Division and the captain has highlighted Brown's various contributions to his team’s seven victories.

"Obviously we didn't know at the start of the season how many games Karl would be able to play for us," he said. "As it's turned out, despite his success for Lancashire's second team, he's played in the majority of our games. It's not just his runs and wickets that have been significant. He's a winner and he's also passionate about Leigh. Those things have rubbed off on the rest of the team."

Brown has made 245 runs and taken 24 wickets for Leigh this year and he should be in the side to face Rainhill tomorrow.

The situation with Mullaney is rather different. The 23 year old former Northern and Bootle all rounder left Lancashire last season and, at the same time, decided that his commitments at Trent Bridge would prevent him playing for the Wadham Road side on a regular basis.

Leigh, though, were only too pleased to have Mullaney back in their line up as often as he was available and that situation hasn't changed despite the player establishing himself in Nottinghamshire's first team.

"We're taking it week by week with Steven," said Dove. "Obviously no one could have forecast the success he'd have at Notts but we're all delighted for him. He's passionate about Leigh too and he's made it clear that he regards it as his home town team. In terms of profile, it's great for the club that we can sometimes turn out a side containing two county cricketers."

It was obviously convenient for Leigh that Mullaney was available for the top of the table clash against Orrell Red Triangle a fortnight ago, a game in which he took four for 45 and made an unbowed 77 in his side's four wicket win.

Dove, however, is insistent that he does not depend on his two county cricketers. "It was clear to me at the start of the year that we needed a squad of around 15 players," he said. "We had three or four at university and I wanted people to know that they'd all face a real challenge for their places. However, one player who's seized his opportunity with both hands is our left arm seamer Richard Dempster.

"At the start of the season, I probably thought of him as an outstanding second team player, but he's given me no option but to throw him the ball and ask him to do what he's been doing every week of the season. I'm also fortunate to have a player like Paul Keenan at the top of the order because when he gets in, he scores so quickly that he gives others time to build their innings if needed. I'm always looking for more from Paul because I don't think he realises how talented he is."