Lowerhouse and Burnley start 2013 on home soil

BOWLING ACE: Adnan Rasool returns as professional for Burnley for the 2013 season, having taken 95 wickets for the club in the last campaign

BOWLING ACE: Adnan Rasool returns as professional for Burnley for the 2013 season, having taken 95 wickets for the club in the last campaign

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Lowerhouse chairman Stan Heaton believes the club will face tough competition to retain their titles after winning the Lancashire League and Worsley Cup last term.

The West Enders secured the double for the first time in the club’s history, beating Church by 15 runs at Blackburn Road in the cup before scooping their third league title in 150 years in a nail-biting clash on home soil against Ramsbottom on the final day of the 2012 campaign.

First team coach Paul Stansfield has retained the nucleus of his championship winning side, including South African professional Francois Haasbroek, while adding Colne’s Matt Wilson to the Liverpool Road ranks.

Heaton said: “There’s no reason why we can’t repeat last season’s feat. The younger players are another year older and the more experienced players are in great form.

“We’ve kept the same nucleus from last term with the addition of Matt Wilson. That togetherness and spirit has remained and so winning becomes a habit. They’ve still got that hunger and there doesn’t appear to be any signs of complacency. We’re fairly conscious that other teams appear to have recruited well, there’s some decent players coming in to the league, so it will be very competitive again.

“They’ve put the onus on themselves to repeat that league success. We all know the cup is more of a hit and miss affair but they enjoyed winning it last year and they’ll want to experience that again. We want to perform better in the Twenty20 competition as well and give the Lancashire Cup another go.”

Meanwhile Burnley skipper Bharat Tripathi has been looking at his rivals for inspiration.

The Turf Moor captain has admittedly learned from Lowerhouse’s success and has retained his core of amateur players in a bid to build familiarity and consistency.

Paid man Adnan Rasool, who took 95 wickets last year, has also offered his services for another season, brothers David and Michael Brown are also set to feature, though Yakub Bhamji has joined Morecambe CC.

“We’ve built a strong core of amateur players. We are a lot more confident ahead of this term and I believe we’ll be much harder to beat.

“The main focus was on retaining our squad which is something Lowerhouse have done recently. They’ve maintained that nucleus of young players along with that crop of more experienced amateurs and it’s worked for them. That’s what we are trying to do.”

Lowerhouse take on Rishton at home tomorrow while Burnley entertain Church, both starting at 1 p.m.