NEWTON-le-Willows third team's recent drawn match with their Rainhill counterparts was illuminated by an unbeaten century from 12-year-old Ben Walkden.

To make the story even more remarkable, the young cricketer completed his first senior 100 in just his second open age game despite breaking his bat while in the 80s – and the closing runs were all watched at close quarters by his father, and club stalwart, Ian who was batting at the other end.

All rounder Ben, who captains Lancashire Schools under 12, is a prodigious talent having made his cricketing debut for Newton under nines – at the age of four!

Dad Ian, who has played first team for Newton for 33 years, and followed in his father's footsteps, said his son had grown up with cricket.

“He was on 78 when I joined him at the crease. My six, not out, was invaluable in keeping him on strike," Ian quipped.

“It was very pleasing and very satisfying and quite emotional.

"He broke his bat while on 81 or 82 – but that is going to be framed now because that is the bat he scored his three previous hundreds with at schoolboy level."

As a 12-year-old he had to get permission off his county coach and parents to play senior cricket.

But he showed he could handle it at that level.

This week Ben's fine run of form continued, top scoring with 56 for Lancashire in their comprehensive win over Cumbria.