from Wigan to the West Indies

Posted: May 19, 2012 in This is the Voice of Lefty Reason

From Wigan to the Windies

Think of Wigan. What does that town say to you?  Pies?  The infamous “Pier”? “Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls”? Or a gritty northern town that has seen better days and would still be the ideal setting for a sixties type Kitchen Sink Drama?  I thought of Wigan this week as I watched the West Indies cricket team toil against England at Lords.  I saw them struggle yet again; a familiar pattern over the last fifteen years or so and pondered on the Great Sides of the not too distant past, Greenidge, Richards, Lara, Lloyd, Whispering Death, Big Bird and all.  Then the Windies ruled; simply steamrolling all in their path as they demolished the best the rest of the world had to offer through skill, motivation and an inner sense that what they were accomplishing was more than just winning cricket matches.  The link with Wigan?  That town also once dominated an entire sport; that of Rugby League, self- styled Greatest Game.  The Wigan side of the eighties and nineties were nigh on unbeatable, particularly when winning eight Challenge Cups in a row.  How does sporting excellence and “unbeatability” shift to the extent that both Wigan and the Windies seemingly had to suffer after their success?  I wonder whether their competitors studied their methods and improved them.   Did they just become lazy and too relaxed, unable to see the others playing catch-up?  Or, as I suspect, did the great players in those great teams all come to the fore together and retire together so leaving unfillable gaps?  Some of the players in both of those sides could be considered among  the best ever in their sport, was it just coincidence that they played in the same sides?  Do all teams in any sport have in some way to suffer for their success?  Ever- lasting dominance would be pretty boring after all but I would love to see West Indian cricket rise and compete again.  As for Wigan, after a period of relative non-achievement they seem to be on the march again

  1. Wigan’s dominance came to an end when the salary cap was introduced. They couldn’t cope with it and for a while struggled. They’re certainly back at the to now though, unfortunately, and I’d be surprised if they don’t win the Super League this year.

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