Heaton expecting more support for paid man Ocky

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Lowerhouse stalwart Stan Heaton is encouraging the club’s middle order batsmen to provide a more supportive structure for professional Ockert Erasmus.

The 29-year-old South African cricketer is the Lancashire League’s sixth highest run scorer this season at present with 544, just 17 runs short of his skipper Ben Heap.

However, with the exception of Paddy Martin, who has 300 runs halfway down the pack, the West Enders are struggling for another pillar to anchor the innings.

Following the 38 run loss to Nelson at the Brooks Foundation Ground, the club’s fifth defeat of the campaign, Heaton said: “We’re hitting the halfway point and we’re slightly disappointed that we’ve very rarely fired on all cylinders so far. When we are good we are very good but we’ve had too many off days, largely with the bat.

“We’ve had too many below par middle order performances and that has put us up against it on occasions.

“We signed a pro for us to bat around and we’re more than satisfied that he’s providing us with that anchor but we’re not doing our jobs around him often enough. We need to put that right quickly.”

Lowerhouse culminate Phase One of the league’s innovative format tomorrow at home to Church with the guarantee that they’ll finish the term in the A Division.

“We’re very much looking forward to the change,” said Heaton. “We’ve been fully supportive of the expansion plans. It’s the right thing to do, it’s nice for the clubs who are already a part of the league, and everyone will benefit from it at the top and bottom of the table. It can only be a good thing.

“We need a minor miracle to win it but we want to be playing the better teams over the course of the second half of the season. We want to be up there even though we’ll be putting a lot of emphasis on the LCB Cup.”

With a revised date for their LCB Knockout Cup quarter-final with Clitheroe still to be sanctioned, Heaton added: “It would be great to take a bus load of spectators to Old Trafford.

“We could have Burnley in the semi-final first so we’re very excited about the competition.

“It would be absolutely great to get there. It would be slightly ironic to finish seventh in the league and win the county cup but we want success. It would be marvellous for both the spectators and the players if we were to get to Old Trafford.”

Elsewhere, in the Ribblesdale Cricket League, Read face Barnoldswick (away) tomorrow and Ribblesdale Wanderers (home) on Sunday while Padiham play Earby (away) tomorrow and leaders Settle (away) on Sunday.