Cricket Club shaken by brutal attack on players in Oldham town centre

EVERYBODY connected with Shaw Cricket Club remains in a state of shock following a brutal attack on two of its players in Oldham town centre.

Professional Marques Ackerman and overseas player Justin Watson, both South Africans, were badly injured as they were set upon by a seven-strong group as they left Liquid and Envy nightclub on Yorkshire Street in the early hours of Friday, July 27.

Assaulted: Justin Watson left, and Marques Ackerman

Watson, who had had trials with Lancashire, has been readmitted to hospital for further surgery on August 10 relating to surgery to a broken and dislocated jaw that had become infected.

He was initially admitted to the Royal Oldham Hospital but was transferred to a specialist facial unit at North Manchester General.

Watson’s mother has flown over from South Africa to be at the bedside of her son who remained in hospital at the time the Correspondent went to print.

Shaw official Catherine Matley said: “They removed the metal plate that was in his mouth already (following the operation to fix his broken jaw) and then they drained the infection.

“After that they put screws in his jaw to keep it stable for two of three days while the infection healed.

“After that he has to go in for another operation on Thursday (August 16) to get a larger plate put in his jaw.

“He is looking at five or six days in hospital.”

Watson has been unable to eat solid foods since the attack and has only been able to consume liquids.

Ackerman, who was beaten unconscious and suffered concussion, has returned to South Africa after being called up to play in a competition.

Shaw captain Steven Whiston has described the “huge impact” the attack has had on the players.
He said: “They are brilliant lads who we have got to know well.

“They have been fantastic and gone up and above what was asked of them by coaching the U15 and U18 teams.

“We had to cancel their training last week as we had no coaches.

“And for them to be attacked was shameful. We are hoping the authorities deal with it.”

Watson has had trials with Lancashire and had been due to have more with Durham and Northants as he was striving to win a contract with a county side.

“Justin is a very good player and for this to happen is a huge shame,” explained Whiston.

The loss of Ackerman and Watson has also derailed Shaw’s bid for promotion from division 2A of the Greater Manchester Cricket League.

Before the attack, they were in the promotion places. They lost the two subsequent matches to Werneth and Prestwich to slip out of the top two.

“We will be striving to regain momentum, but it has been hard losing two of your best players through the actions of others,” said Whiston.

The club is also unhappy with the league as they were initially prevented from fielding a deputy pro against Werneth.

He explained: “It is a ridiculous rule that a deputy pro must be registered before Thursday, but Marcus was injured in the early hours of Friday morning.

“What happens if your pro gets hurts at practice on Thursday night.

“We were told on Saturday morning we were being given special dispensation to sign a deputy pro, but that was too short notice as we were playing at lunchtime.

“The following week against Prestwich we had a deputy pro lined up only for him to let us down at the last minute.”

A spokesperson from Greater Manchester Police said: “Two men aged 20 and 27 were arrested on suspicion of assault and have since been released under investigation.”

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