Early finish again as Lowerhouse extend lead

Outstanding performance: Jon Finch hit 35 not out and took 4-19 against Rishton on Sunday
Outstanding performance: Jon Finch hit 35 not out and took 4-19 against Rishton on Sunday

Lowerhouse - still without captain Charlie Cottam and Chris Bleazard - managed to exctend their lead at the top of the Lancashire League to 14 points on Sunday.

The West Enders again enjoyed an early finish as they despatched bogey side Rishton at the Neville Gee Recruitment Ground with minimum fuss, earning a nine-wicket victory.

Rivals Ramsbottom also won, at Rawtenstall, but were unable to bowl their opponents out for the bonus points.

Stand-in skipper Ben Heap won the toss for Lowerhouse and decided to put the visitors in, with the threat of rain in the air.

But the leaders needn’t have worried about the elements, as they were back in the showers at 4-40 p.m., having required only 18 overs of their reply to pass Rishton’s all out total of 81.

Joe Hawke struck in the fifth over for his 150th Lancashire League wicket, havingKelly Mall caught behind by Joe Martin without scoring.

Brad Juliff and stand-in skipper and professional Matt Hullet moved Rishton to 42 before the paid man was trapped in front by Jon Finch for 14.

Juliff followed one run later, caught by Paddy Martin off Finch for 15.

Ali Sartaj gloved Matt Walker to Jonny Whitehead at gully without adding to the score, and Walker struck again at 44 as Irfan Muhammed top edged a hook to Lewis Marsden at mid wicket.

Keegan Dobson and Paul Clifford added eight before the latter was stumped by Joe Martin off Finch for a duck, and at 62, Finch struck again, lbw, to remove Matt Leathert.

Darrel Thomas and Clifford stuck around for six oversm but professional Cobus Pienaar ended their resistance, and claimed the remaining two wickets to bring an end to the innings.

Thomas was caught behind by Joe Martin for nine, before Josh Brown was bowled, and then Steve Juliff was trapped in front.

Clifford finished unbeaten on 16, as Finch took 4-19, Pienaar 3-17, Walker 2-17 and Hawke 1-15.

In reply, Finch and Whitehead went about ending things as quickly as possible.

Whitehead was caught behind by Brad Juliff off Clifford for 29, but Finch finished unbeaten on 35 to secure a 13th-successive league win.

Burnley also continued their recent good form with a victory over East Lancashire, to make it seven wins out of eight games in league and cup - setting them up very nicely for the Worsley Cup Final on Sunday.

Sunday saw Burnley insert East Lancs at Alexandra Meadows, and they soon had them in trouble as Cole Hayman reduced them to 0-2, with a fine slip catch by the returning David Brown accounting for opener Chris Riley, before Hayman bowled professional Matthew Kleinveldt.

There was a partnership of 55 with captain John Turner (40) holding the innings together on a difficult pitch, but Dan Pickup (2-11 off eight overs) came on and soon got a couple of wickets, as the scoring rate was kept in check.

He saw off both Bhada brothers, one with another stunning catch on the boundary by Jhangir Liaqat.

Professional Chris Holt (3-29 off 14 overs) and Bharat Tripathi (2-22 off six overs) reduced the total to 114 all out which was inflated by 25 extras.

In response, Burnley got off to a flyer with Pickup (24) and Holt (25) getting a partnership of 53, and they looked as though they were cruising to victory.

But Kleinveldt came on and changed the game by taking 4-23 and reduced them to 74-5.

The middle order was held together by Brown (35) and former skipper Steve Brunt (11 not out), who finished the game off with a six, with 17 overs left.

Lowerhouse host Haslingden on Saturday, while Burnley could do their neighbours a favour as they travel to Ramsbottom.

Burnley are then at Rawtenstall in the Worsley Cup Final on Sunday, which starts at 12-30 p.m.

• England’s James Anderson was back at Turf Moor on Sunday for a question and answer session, and to witness a special plaque unveiled to commemorate Burnley’s role in Anderson’s development as a youngster.

Anderson will stay in the area with the fourth Test against India at Old Trafford starting on Thursday.

“The Burnley Express” was cleared to play after being found not guilty of any wrong-doing in his spat with Ravindra Jadeja.