An Anthony Axford North West Cricket League Select XI will face the Germany national team in a T20 friendly at Farnworth this evening - and Salesbury star Ollie Wetton believes it is a key moment in the league’s fledgling existence, writes Graham Hardcastle.

Left-arm spinner Wetton is the Premiership’s leading wicket-taker this summer with 40 - he has taken 47 in all cricket - and has been selected in a 13-man squad for the 5.30pm start.

Farnworth captain Simon Booth was recently asked by Atiq-uz-Zaman, the Lancashire based coach of Germany, if he could put a side together to face the European nation as they prepare for an ICC T20 World Cup qualifying event in Scotland, beginning later this week.

Germany, who have won their last six T20s, have been training in Bolton, and Booth has obliged. He’s set to captain and keep wicket.

It’s headed by an eye-catching trio of professionals in Milinda Siriwardana (Farnworth), Jameel Stuart (Farnworth Social Circle) and Jono Bird (Kearsley).

Wetton is one of the amateurs, and can’t wait to help put the NWCL on the map with a notable win.

“It’s key to get more exposure to this league with it being so new, and this can only help,” he said.

“People will see it and be saying, ‘This league has played or even beaten an international side who are trying to qualify for a World Cup, they must be good’.

“The team we’ve put together, it’s going to take some beating. It’s not a team who’s going to roll over and get battered.

“Everybody has the same goal of trying to get the league recognised and to get yourself recognised as a player. I’m excited, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. You just never know who’s watching.”

Wetton is a 23-year-old with a high ceiling as a player, one who has taken a lot from watching now retired Lancashire stalwart Stephen Parry during his playing days.

Wetton, who is clearly matching performance with potential at present, said: “When I was growing up watching Lancs, it was him and Arron Lilley.

“He also played at Lowerhouse as pro for a bit. Whenever they played at Clitheroe, I’d go and watch him bowl. The way he went about his business, he was right up there. I don’t think he got the recognition he deserved.”

Salesbury are currently fifth in the Premiership with eight wins from 14 games.

“I think everyone sets out at the start of the season to win the league,” he said. “But, overall, I think we’re pretty happy because you’re playing a lot of different teams and at different grounds.

“Early season, we didn’t particularly play well but won some games. As the season’s gone on, results and performances have matched up a bit more.

“Ask anyone at the club and I’d think they’d say the same, we’ve probably let ourselves down with the bat a bit.”

Wetton is enjoying the freshness of the NWCL following the merger of the Ribblesdale and Bolton Leagues.

“Everyone at Salesbury, we’re really enjoying the change of scenery. It felt like Groundhog Day every season playing the same teams every week. With new teams, it’s exciting.

“And I think it’s making everyone better.

“The standard of pro from the Bolton League teams especially has taken some of the Ribb League teams by surprise.

“It’s about working out how to get someone out who averages 98 or how to get them off strike to bowl at the amateurs. It’s a brilliant challenge.”

And, indicating Wetton’s competitive nature which Germany will soon experience, he is refusing to give up the chance of overhauling Little Lever, who are 42 points clear of Salesbury with nine rounds left.

He added: “They’ve had an unbelievable season, but you just never know.

“We’ve got to play them at home, and there’s not many teams who come to Salesbury and take 12 points off us.”

NWCL Select XI squad: Simon Booth (c&w, Farnworth), Curtis Anderton (Little Lever), Jono Bird (Kearsley), Dave Flanagan (Lostock), Nipun Gaikwad (Little Lever), Connor Lord (Tonge), Cam Murray (Kearsley), Mo Nazim (Atherton), Milinda Siriwardana (Farnworth), Jameel Stuart (Farnworth SC), Zander Van Tonder (Padiham), Ollie Wetton (Salesbury), Will Wrathall (Read).