AFTER suffering an opening day defeat last Sunday, Lowerhouse got up and running as they took maximum points from the first double-header of the season.
On Saturday, at Haslingden, Matt Walker, a young and exciting player who missed the whole of the 2010 season with injury, secured a one wicket win for Lowerhouse.
And the following day in the first home game of the campaign, the West Enders enjoyed a comfortable win in the mini-derby against Nelson.
At Bentgate, needing 11 runs to win from the final over bowled by Eddie Shah, Joe Martin and Walker showed admirable character and skill to win the game.
There was no sign of the excitement to come in a game generally dominated by the bowlers.
Haslingden won the toss and batted, struggling to 89-8, with only Mohsin Imtiaz, professional Phil Hayes and captain Graham Knowles reaching double figures.
Lowerhouse became frustrated as Jack Sudworth, Neary and Shah showed that there were no great demons in the wicket by batting sensibly as the final two wickets added 49 runs.
Professional Francois Haasbroek finished with 4-40, with two wickets each for Jon Finch, Jonny Russell and Walker.
Finch and Johnny Whitehead opened the Lowerhouse batting, chasing 139 to win, with confidence, adding 36 runs before Whitehead was adjudged lbw, and four runs later Haasbroek was caught at slip.
Paddy Martin, batting superbly, and Finch added 44 runs for the third wicket, playing some good strokes but not dominating totally.
Looking comfortable at 117-3, with Chris Bleazard at the crease, Lowerhouse managed to lose five wickets for the addition of only nine runs to set up the finale.
Gary Sudworth bowled well for Haslingden, taking 6-53.
The game marked a wonderful landmark for Chris Bleazard as he passed 13,000 league runs for Lowerhouse in the Lancashire Cricket League - a remarkable achievement for a highly talented and loyal cricketer.
On Sunday, Lowerhouse eased past neighbours Nelson at Liverpool Road.
Batting first, Nelson opened confidently with openers Lickess and Stuart Lemon in little trouble against the opening attack of Russell and Haasbroek.
Lemon was the more aggressive of the two, and Nelson had reached 47 in the 15th over before Lickess was caught at cover point off Haasbroek.
In the same over, Nelson sub professional Glen Batticciotto didn’t play a shot and was given out lbw.
Wickets fell at regular intervals with Haasbroek, Finch and Fergus Bailey bowling an accurate line and length.
Visiting captain Thomas Lord tried to play an attacking innings in response, but was well held on the boundary edge by Whitehead.
Nelson were dismissed for 151 in the 47th over, with Hassbroek returning figures of 5-65, Finch 3-29 and Bailey 1-13.
The sun continued to shine on a substantial crowd as Lowerhouse opening batsmen Finch and Whitehead set about establishing a platform for the innings.
Both batsmen played some attractive shots particularly straight against Richard Meade and Batticciotto before Whitehead was run out with the score on 40 after 10 overs.
Martin joined Finch and again looked in good touch after his excellent innings on the previous day.
A second run out occurred but the innings was progressing at more than the required rate as Finch completed an excellent half century.
Nazir took two wickets in consecutive overs to dismiss Finch with an excellent return catch and bowling Bleazard.
Haasbroek began to show his undoubted ability with the bat as his confidence grew and Charlie Cottam had the first opportunity of spending time in the middle as both were unbeaten when the target was reached.
Pendleside Hospice benefited financially from the match, as all the gate receipts and raffle were donated by Lowerhouse Cricket Club to the Hospice - many thanks to all who contributed.
Lowerhouse, along with Donny Doran, Kevin Bailey and David Wren, who are sponsoring Pendleside Hospice this season, are pictured. A010511/4b
This weekend, Lowerhouse host Todmorden on Saturday, before travelling to champions Ramsbottom on Sunday.