Admittedly he has some way to go before emulating team-mate Chris Bleazard, but Lowerhouse amateur Joey Hawke is determined to push on after hitting 1,000 Lancashire League runs.
The 24-year-old reached the milestone at Dill Hall Lane on Sunday as his unbeaten half-century - which included four fours and three sixes - helped the West Enders get off the mark for the campaign against Enfield.
Hawke made his debut for ‘House against Haslingden at Liverpool Road in July 2005 in a 68-run defeat and has gone on to make a further 112 league appearances.
Hawke, who signed on professional terms at Astley and Tyldesley in the Bolton & District Cricket League for the 2009 and 2010 seasons, said: “I made my debut quite a while ago so it’s a nice milestone to finally reach. They were my childhood club so it’s good to finally get over the mark. I spent a couple of years away but I’ve enjoyed it since coming back in 2011.
“I needed three runs going in to Sunday’s game. I only survived three balls against Rawtenstall the day before though so I wasn’t thinking about it too much.
“But I went on to get an unbeaten half-century which was a great way to do it. I went in with the professional (Cobus Pienaar) who made it a bit easier because he’s very experienced and he talked me through my innings.
“It’s a really good achievement but it was more important to help the team. Hopefully there’s many more milestones to come. It’s going to take me a while to get any where near Chris Bleazard but I’ll be looking for another 500 runs this season.”
Lowerhouse have so far lost two of their three fixtures - against Church and Rawtenstall - but after the response against Enfield, Hawke is hoping his side can continue that progression against table-topping East Lancs on Sunday with a 1 p.m. start on home soil.
“It’s not been the best of starts so we’ve put a little bit of pressure on ourselves,” he said. “We’ve got a strong squad and I think some people were expecting us to walk the league. It was good to get off the mark against Enfield and claim 12 points. I just hope we can go on from there.
“With the ability in our side and the talent among the youngsters we should be challenging for the league title. We’re aiming for a run in the Worsley Cup and we want to defend our Twenty/20 crown. It’s a long season and there’s plenty to play for yet. It will be an open title race this year.”
Meanwhile, Turf Moor skipper Bharat Tripathi is praying for a Burnley backlash after his side opened the 2014 term with three successive defeats.
The Worsley Cup winners, who climbed to third in the Lancashire League hierarchy last year, currently sit bottom of the pile following losses to Haslingden, Todmorden and champions Accrington.
Ahead of Sunday’s clash with Bacup at Lanehead, Tripathi said: “It’s not been the start we wanted but we’ve been responsible for our own shortcomings. It’s not been ideal. At times we’ve been a bit unlucky but in the majority we’ve not been playing the cricket we should be playing. That’s why we’ve lost three in a row.
“It’s just not clicked so far because the team has changed quite a lot from last year. It will take a bit of time to bed in and understand each other’s games. There’s a new dynamic in the team so we’re still working on the tactical and technical.”
The 24-year-old added: “We are not looking in to it too much yet even though it’s not nice being bottom of the table. There’s still 23 games to go so I don’t think it’s an indication of how the season will turn out. We will ignore the standings for the moment.
“We want to make sure we come out on top against Bacup. We think we are capable of doing that but we have to earn the right to win it. There will be surprises this year in the league so we can’t take anything for granted.”
Both Lowerhouse and Burnley will also feature in the LCB Knockout Cup competition on Bank Holiday Monday.
Charlie Cottam’s men will take on Heyside at the Neville Gee (Recruitment) Ground while Burnley will take on Adlington on home soil.