AN HEROIC effort from the groundsman and volunteers saw Lowerhouse beat the weather over the weekend, and enhance their double hopes.
On Saturday, following the torrential rain the previous day, the match with Todmorden commenced on time, and the West Enders prevailed by 69 runs to move 20 points clear.
And the following day, Lowerhouse beat Bacup by 72 runs to earn an away semi-final against either East Lancashire or Enfield who will play their quarter-final on Saturday.
Against Bacup, batting first after winning the toss, Lowerhouse slowly built their innings with solid contributions from Ben Heap and Joe Martin, who was particularly impressive with some sublime strokes in the second part of his innings.
Being 64-2 after 25 overs, Lowerhouse powered 157 runs in the final 25 overs.
Chris Bleazard and Jonathan Finch stamped their class on the proceedings with a late flurry for the home side to close their innings at 221-6.
Bacup were always behind the required rate as their premier batsmen, Gallagher, McGregor and Farragher fell to decent bowling and good catches.
Veteran Terry Lord played some aggressive strokes after a very cautious opening to his innings to give Bacup an outside chance, but the return of Finch and professional Francois Haasbroek extinguished the threat.
The previous day, Lowerhouse won a rain-reduced contest against Todmorden to retain their position at the top of the league.
Todmorden won the toss and asked Lowerhouse to bat on a wicket that, despite the extensive covers, had understandably taken a soaking from the torrential rain that the ground had withstood for days.
Lowerhouse began cautiously in an attempt to keep wickets in hand for the final push.
Johnny Whitehead was the more fluent of the opening batsmen as he and Heap recorded an opening stand of 57 before Whitehead was adjudged lbw.
Heap and Francois Haasbroek upped the run rate to add 71 runs for the second wicket.
Qaiser Abbas was always the danger on the drying wicket, and only in the latter overs did he take any punishment.
Wickets fell regularly as Lowerhouse tried to force the pace.
Rain fell in the final over for Lowerhouse to close on 190-7 from 49.3 overs.
The rains continued in the tea interval for the match to be reduced to a 36-over contest with an adjusted target for Todmorden to win of 152.
Todmorden were soon in trouble as the opening bowlers Hawke and Haasbroek cut down their run-ups to concentrate on line and length and to get the minimum 20 overs bowled before any further rain interruptions.
Only Gilford showed any satisfactory technique to withstand the bowling, with Hawke claiming the majority of the wickets to fall finishing with 6 -34.
On Sunday Lowerhouse are back in league action at Church.
Burnley’s game at East Lancashire on Saturday was washed out. Steve Brunt’s side host Rawtenstall on Saturday.