Lowerhouse skipper Charlie Cottam is delighted that the club is living up to everybody’s expectations after landing a third Lancashire League title in four years.
After sportingly giving the new champions a guard of honour at the Neville Gee (Recruitment) Ground, it was departing title-holders Accrington that had to watch on as Lowerhouse reclaimed the prestigious piece of silver ware.
And the hosts - who sealed the championship at Centre Vale against Todmorden last weekend - won in style on home soil with a seven-wicket triumph, a 19th-successive league win
Matt Walker took 5-29 in restricting the visitors to an 83-run total, while Joe Martin passed 50 victims for the campaign when obliging with four catches. Former professional Francois Haasbroek also made a potent return with figures of 3-12 and Jamie Woodall took the final wicket of Joe Lloyd on his senior debut.
In the reply, Jon Finch (9), Ben Heap (4) and Joey Hawke (6) were all extinguished for single figures as ‘House made a slow start, but Jonny Whitehead and Matt Walker hit respective unbeaten knocks of 35 and 28 to spark the frenzy.
“In some ways it was a little bit better winning last week because we knew we were going to get the trophy at home,” said Cottam. “It made things a little bit more enjoyable with the pressure being off this week.
“It was another great win against Accrington without the pressure. We won in style and lifting the trophy at home is fantastic in front of the home crowd. It was an early finish so we could start the celebrations early.”
Cottam added: “The first title was the most special because we’d never won it before, and it was great to be part of such a special team. We weren’t expected to win that first one either, but since then those expectations have changed. We’re expected to do really well now.
“People have tipped us to do well for a few years now, which brings that added pressure. There’s an expectancy from the crowd, the club, the players, so to come out and perform - after losing three of the first six - is really special.
“People were writing us off but we knew we had a fantastic team.
“I felt some pressure as the captain.”
Lowerhouse round off the season at Holland Cup winners Ramsbottom on Sunday.
M eanwhile, Burnley travelled to Church in good form, but the home side comfortably eased to victory.
Church won the toss and put the visitors into bat on a slow and green wicket, and Burnley were soon in trouble with half the team out with only 30 on the board.
Recently re-signed professional Chris Holt fell for two, as did Chris Burton and Bharat Tripathi, while David Brown fell first ball.
Only Dan Pickup gave any resistance, but he fell for 16 and passed 3,000 career runs in the process.
It was left to Michael Kelly and Steve Brunt to rebuild the innings, and in a partnership of 62 they pushed the score up to 98 until Brunt fell the ball before drinks for 33.
Kelly tried to post a defendable total with the tail, but fell lbw for 34, as Burnley were all out for 142, which included 44 extras.
In what looked a defendable total, Graham Lalor took the early wicket of Levi Wolfenden for one but this left professional Usman Tariq and Lloyd Aspin to attack the bowling, especially to the short boundary of only 35 yards.
Aspin smashed 82 not out off only 53 balls, and Tariq 44 not out to cruise to victory with only 21 overs gone.
Sunday sees the last game of the season with Enfield visiting My Protein Turf Moor.