Anderson inspires as Burnley close gap at the foot of the table

golf day James Anderson at Burnley Golf Club with Daniel Pickuo, David Brown and Bharat Tripathi
golf day James Anderson at Burnley Golf Club with Daniel Pickuo, David Brown and Bharat Tripathi

Bharat Tripathi may have been in exalted company lately, but it was the club’s amateur personnel that the Burnley skipper was more rapturously enthralled with.

The 24-year-old traded bat for club to take part in a charity golf day with England seamer Jimmy Anderson at Burnley Golf Club. But, despite holding the affectionately known ‘Burnley Express’ in high regard, the Turf Moor captain was more inclined to laud his squad’s performance against Rawtenstall.

While Anderson, 31, closed in on Ian Botham’s record Test haul (382 wickets) after taking his 350th victim against Sri Lanka, joining an exclusive club of just 21 bowlers to have reached that milestone, Burnley battled splendiferously in the field at the Worswick Memorial Ground to record only their second league triumph of the campaign.

After the 13-run victory, which had been preceded by a hefty loss to Ramsbottom, Tripathi said: “Jimmy was great and very good at golf. He’s pretty much an all-round sportsman. He played really well on the front nine and was very good at putting. He seemed to enjoy the day, though myself, Dan Pickup and David Brown didn’t really support him.

“Jimmy wished us luck for the weekend and it worked for the Sunday game. Saturday was extremely disappointing and on Sunday we only set Rawtenstall 160 but we were like hunters in the field, preying on the batsmen and working really hard.

“We must’ve prevented about 20/30 runs in the field. We were brilliant and that’s what we do so well. To defend 160 on a small ground has to go down as one of our best performances in recent years.

“I wouldn’t mind playing in the same team as Jimmy but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. The likes of Michael and David Brown and Jonathan Clare have all contributed to the club as well but they weren’t available for Sunday. Those who played contributed to our best performance of the season. They deserve a lot of credit. They’ve taken some stick and that’s how they responded. They were great!”

Meanwhile, Burnley have the chance to clamber off the foot of the Lancashire League table at the weekend as they face their nearest rivals Colne at the Horsfield on Sunday.

“It’s a bit of a crunch match for us at the weekend,” said Tripathi. “We’re exactly halfway there now so we need to approach the second half of the season with a strong mentality.

“We need to play with confidence and string some wins together, especially with the semi-final of the Worsley Cup looming.”

Elsewhere Lowerhouse chairman Stan Heaton was in a conundrum - adopting the role of Countdown’s Rachel Riley to calculate whether the club’s hopes of a treble were still a realistic ambition.

After Nelson beat Colne at Seedhill to confirm top spot in the Twenty20 group, Heaton listed the various permutations that could see ‘House progress to the knockout stages tonight.

Ahead of the West Enders’ away date with Colne in their final Group C fixture, Heaton said: “We’re up against really it in the Twenty20. There’s various permutations. We need to to post a massive score against Colne and bowl them out for next to nothing, or knock them off quickly after severely limiting them.

“Or we need Edenfield to do us a favour by beating Haslingden.In the Hyndburn group the best runner-up will have a poor run rate so they won’t affect us. Advancing would be a huge shock.”

Victories over Haslingden and Bacup at the weekend ensured Charlie Cottam’s men retained their status at the summit, but Heaton acknowledges that the club will face an enduring test against Nelson at the Neville Gee (Recruitment) Ground on Sunday.

“We’re very pleased to still be top of the league after two contrasting fixtures at the weekend,” he said. “To accrue 22 points is a very good return.

“We’re looking forward to the mini-derby and a potential Worsley Cup final pre-run. Nelson are in fine form and play good cricket as a team so it will be difficult. They’ve got a decent seam attack and Harrison Phelan is a very promising spin bowler.

“They’re always capable of hitting decent scores as well with the bat, especially with the pro (Ryan Canning). They beat us in the Twenty20 so we’re hoping for a bit of revenge.”