Burnley win sets up intriguing race for second spot with Lowerhouse

SWEEP SHOT: Burnley's Qasim Ali finds the boundary against Ramsbottom at Turf Moor on Sunday
SWEEP SHOT: Burnley's Qasim Ali finds the boundary against Ramsbottom at Turf Moor on Sunday

After Accrington were crowned Fosters Lancashire League champions, the race has now heated up for second spot.

Graham Lloyd’s side officially usurped Lowerhouse with a 40-run victory over the West Enders at Thorneyholme Road on Sunday.

The home side won the toss and elected to bat first and started steadily with Simon Hanson and Sam Excell at the crease, though the former wasn’t too pleased with the LBW decision that sent him packing for 17.

Excell kept the score ticking over nicely with professional Ashar Zaidi before cutting it to Paddy Martin to depart on 15. Zaidi was ably assisted by Aijaz Shah (30) and Stuart Crabtree (35) in his knock of 43 before he too was left unamused by the umpire’s decision to give him out LBW.

Once he left, the visitors slowed the scoring rate while also picking up wickets including four for visiting paid man Francois Haasbroek to take him to 53 league wickets for the season. Jimmy Hayhurst and David Ormerod managed to survive the final few balls to deny Lowerhouse the bowling bonus points as Accrington posted a score of 193-9.

The away side’s innings started badly with another contentious LBW; this time Joe Hawke was the victim off the bowling of Hayhurst in the second over. The next three wickets of Ben Heap (5), Haasbroek (7) and Jonny Whitehead (10) had no controversy attached to them as Lowerhouse were reeling on 33 for 4. Paddy Martin and Matt Walker managed to stabilise things and produced a 53 run partnership. There were no boundaries in the partnership though which definitely hindered the visitors’ progress. Walker was eventually run out on 30 - again a decision that the outgoing batsman didn’t agree with.

Chris Bleazard (36) and Fergus Bailey (18) battled in vain to salvage any remaining hope of victory but it wasn’t to be. Joe Martin (3 not out) and Joe Beneduce (8 not out) would help secure two batting points to end the innings on 153 for 9 as Accrington would reign victorious and regain the title.

Elsewhere, Burnley mounted the pressure on their rivals in the chase for the runner-up spot with a superb victory over Ramsbottom at Turf Moor.

At the same scene where Bharat Tripathi’s side landed the Worsley Cup last week, the home side won the toss, elected to bat and recovered from the early loss of Dan Pickup through the partnership of Chris Burton and Qasim Ali.

Ali was starting to take control and upped the tempo of the innings until he holed out at deep midwicket for 39. Burton played all round the wicket and made a well constructed 48 until he edged to the keeper off visiting captain Jonathan Fielding.

The partnership was 85 and set a good base for the last 20 overs but a mini wobble left the home side on 114-4. However, skipper Tripathi (27) and professional Adnan Rasool (51) steadied the ship and effectively took the game away from the visitors. They moved the score to 157 when Tripathi fell LBW. Rasool attacked the bowlers and hit a couple of massive sixes in scoring his first 50 for Burnley and with the help of Steve Brunt (11) took the score to 202 for 6.

In reply Ramsbottom took the score to 16 when Graham Lalor and new ball partner Tripathi took control in a devastating spell of bowling, reducing the visitors to 30-4 with both bowlers taking two wickets which included a skied catch by Pickup from the dangerous professional Pieter Malan.

In reply Ramsbottom took the score to 16 when Graham Lalor and new ball partner Tripathi took control in a devastating spell of bowling, reducing the visitors to 30-4 with both bowlers taking two wickets which included a skied catch by Pickup from the dangerous professional Pieter Malan.

Burnley were well in control and never took their foot off the gas, taking regular wickets as Lalor ended his 10-over spell on 2-23. Tripathi returned to his best with 4-47 off 17 overs and Rasool claimed the last three wickets to claim 3-27 in a convincing 104-run victory with 15 overs to spare.

The win pulled Burnley to within a point of third place Ramsbottom and just two points shy of second place Lowerhouse who they face at the Neville Gee (Recruitment) Ground on Sunday, start 1 p.m.