‘House skipper wants a cup run

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Lowerhouse captain Ben Heap wants to make up for missed opportunities in the LCB Knockout Cup.

The West Enders advanced to the last 16 of the county competition, governed by the Lancashire Cricket Board, when beating Farnworth Social Circle by five wickets at Piggott Park.

Heap himself helped his side’s cause when taking 4-17 while professional Ockert Erasmus added 3-44 as the hosts were bowled out for 125.

Dean Barlow (34), Erasmus (27) and Paddy Martin (25) all chipped in to secure a third round tie with Rochdale at the Brooks Foundation Ground on Sunday, July 2nd.

Lancashire League clubs haven’t had the luxury of progressing in times gone by with dates overlapping in their schedule but that clash has since been amended.

After Burnley, Clitheroe, Ramsbottom, Church and Haslingden also made it through, the skipper said: “It was a good performance on Sunday on a difficult wicket.

“We’re delighted to be in the next round. If a few of the teams can progress then it should be very interesting for the area.

“Unfortunately, over the past four or five years, Lancashire League clubs haven’t been able to progress because of dates overlapping. That’s been addressed now so we want to progress as far as we possibly can.”

He added: “I won’t be surprised if some of the Lancashire League teams meet in the semi-finals. It’s definitely a competition that I’m eager to do well in. I’ve stressed that to the team. Hopefully we can get in to the next round.

“It’s been blown wide open. The big teams from other leagues have exited the competition earlier than expected. Everyone will be keeping an eye on Bootle, though.”

Lowerhouse host Ramsbottom in the Twenty20 at Liverpool Road this evening having lost their opening two fixtures.

They’ll then entertain Great Harwood in the league on Sunday. With so much at stake, Heap has suggested that it’s vital that they win both games.

“We’ve got two ‘must win’ games,” he said. “I’ll put on record that we’ve had a horrific run of misfortune in terms of injuries.

“Joey Hawke, Joe Halstead, Dean Barlow and Dom Stuart have all been missing. We’ve had a number of bowlers on the sidelines. We’re slowly getting them back.

“We’re looking to stay in touch with our rivals and making that split when the season gets to the halfway point.

“We’re under a bit of pressure in the Twenty20 so we need to put a run of games together. We still need to go out there and enjoy it.”