Heap proud to see Lowerhouse’s name on LCB trophy

Ben Heap
Ben Heap

Liverpool Road skipper Ben Heap is very proud and privileged to have skippered the club to success on the county stage.

While their journey in the LCB Knockout Cup suffered a huge anti-climax, with an Old Trafford finale taken away from them, Lowerhouse’s name will still be tattooed on to the trophy.

Rain scuppered any hopes of completing the showpiece at the home of Lancashire Cricket Club, with just nine overs played on the day, before a second abandonment in the re-scheduled tie at Blackpool Cricket Club forced a share of the silverware with opponents Ormskirk.

However, the 29-year-old is looking at the positives from the experience and is thankful for the voyage that the West Enders have been on.

After becoming the first Lancashire League team in history to lift the cup, having bypassed Great Harwood, Farnworth Social Circle, Rochdale, Clitheroe and rivals Burnley along the way, Heap said: “We’ve had a lot of rain since so we haven’t really been together long enough to take it all in.

“Personally I still think that it’s a heck of an achievement. We’ve played well in that competition all the way through. We are worthy winners in my eyes because we’ve beaten some good teams along the way.

“It wasn’t a pleasant feeling at the time [when the match was abandoned]. We’ve just got to come away from it and try to take the positives.

“We’ve had a taste of what it’s like to be a professional cricketer. We were treated very well on the day. It was a great day and we were very grateful for the experience.

“The best thing for me was getting to warm up on the outfield and take it all in. That period of warming up was a bit surreal.”

He added: “We took a lot of people there and that made it very special when we walked out on to the pitch. That’s what it was all about - capturing those moments.

“Our name will be on that trophy no matter what so nobody can take that away from us. It’s great that we’ve been able to create our own little piece of history.

“Nobody from the Lancashire League has done that before. It’s been one hell of a ride and we’re pleased to have our names on that trophy.”

Lowerhouse finish the campaign with a double header, starting against Todmorden at the Brooks Foundation Ground on Saturday before they take on East Lancs at Alexandra Meadows.

Meanwhile, Burnley round off their season against champions Clitheroe at Turf Moor on Sunday.

And it’s all or nothing for Section B leaders Padiham in their final game of the Ribblesdale Cricket League term.

Phil Haggerty’s side taken on third place Ribblesdale Wanderers with promotion the reward for whoever prevails.

With five points separating the two teams ahead of the ‘winner takes all’ clash at Church Meadow, the skipper said: “We’ve been top all season so it would be a shame if we didn’t go up. We would definitely want to get promoted as champions now.”

“It would be nice to get some silverware in the cabinet. You obviously get promoted finishing second, but nobody remembers the runners up.

“We belong in the top tier. We won six of our first seven games this season against teams from the tier above us. That shows that we can’t only compete with them, but we can beat them.

“You always want to play in the best division. The club is one of the founder members of the league, it has always been challenging, and the club deserves to be up there.”

In paid man Brady Barends’ absence, Derbyshire’s Tony Palladino will sub pro for Padiham.

Finally, Read have the opportunity to leapfrog Barnoldswick into third place when they meet at Whalley Road on Saturday.

Professional Matt Walker should finish the season as the league’s highest run scorer with 791 as he holds a strong advantage over closest competitor Ralph Bogogo (669) of Cherry Tree.

Currently on 47 wickets, the former ‘House amateur could also culminate 2017 as the most prolific bowler.