Lowerhouse are pegged back

Johnny Whitehead in action for Lowerhouse
Johnny Whitehead in action for Lowerhouse

AFTER earning victory from the jaws of defeat at Ramsbottom on Saturday, Fosters Lancashire League leaders Lowerhouse went down to closest rivals Enfield at home the following day.

The champions still lead the table - but must rally for the return fixture at Dill Hall Lane on Sunday.

At Ramsbottom, Lowerhouse displayed an abundance of fight, determination and never say die attitude to snatch a remarkable win from a seemably losing position as the home side appeared to be coasting when needing only 45 runs with 17 overs and five wickets in hand.

The final result seemed a long way away as Lowerhouse initially struggled having won the toss and deciding to bat, and finding themselves 35-3 at the half way stage of their innings.

The gritty and determined stand-in captain Ben Heap stood firm as wickets fell, and it was only when he was joined by the evergreen Chris Bleazard that the stranglehold that Jonathan Fielding and Mick Haslam had imposed was finally broken as Lowerhouse scored 68 runs from the final 10 overs.

Heap faced 156 balls on the wet and slow wicket to secure one end and Bleazard hit an unbeaten 34 from 37 balls faced. Fielding bowled throughout, taking 5-65, Haslam conceding only 19 runs from 13 overs.

Despite the loss of David Bell and Sam Halstead, Ramsbottom were cruising at the required three runs per over rate with overs and wickets to spare.

Lowerhouse were finding it tough to restrict the run rate, especially as they were too generous with extras, recording 14 wides and nine no balls.

They needed to bowl Ramsbottom out for victory, and this was becoming less likely as Malan dug in, together with more aggressive batting at the other end with Rothwell and Fielding playing good attacking shots against anything loose.

Jonathan Finch and Francois Haasbroek switched ends, and this seemed to revitalise the pair, and the vital wickets of Malan, Webb and Fielding were secured. Haasbroek soon finished off the tail to finish with 7-32 and Finch 2-52.

Losses for Accrington and Enfield gave Lowerhouse a 17-point overnight lead going into the home game versus Enfield on Sunday.

But a superb all-round performance by Enfield professional Werner Coetsee eased Enfield to victory, inflicting a second successive home defeat on the ‘House.

Batting first after the visitors won the toss, Lowerhouse produced an impressive opening partnership between Heap and Johnny Whitehead before Heap was caught behind off Coetsee for the first of his eight wickets in a highly impressive bowling performance.

He was extracting significant turn from the responsive wicket and Lowerhouse never really got to grips with him throughout their innings.

Only Whitehead, with a superb 80 from 135 balls including seven fours and one six, and Bleazard, who steadied the innings when Lowerhouse had lost three wickets for 11 runs, had any answer to the South African.

Lowerhouse were not helped that seven batsmen could only muster seven runs between them.

Lowerhouse closed their innings perhaps 50 runs short of a total that would put real pressure on the opposition.

Enfield eased to victory thanks to a belligerent 40-run opening stand and a controlled innings from Coetsee to see the visitors home.

l BURNLEY were involved in two thrilling games at the weekend which ended with one win by two wickets and a loss by seven runs.

Burnley welcomed title-chasing Accrington to Turf Moor on Saturday with the visitors opting to bat on a very wet track. However, for the first time in a while blue skies appeared and sun cream was required.

Accrington were soon in trouble with experienced Graham Lloyd being bowled by the impressive Graham Lalor who claimed two early wickets. Even with the early breakthroughs, the opening pair bowled a bit too short.

It altered with the double change of professional Adnan Rasool (6-23) and James Capstick which proved very hard to score from and led to Accrington collapsing to 85 all out. This seemed 20 runs too short of a par score but was never going to be easy against a good attack.

In reply the home side began hesitantly with Qasim Ali departing to their pro without scoring and Steve Brunt edging to slip to leave the home side 3-2. Skipper Bharat Tripathi rebuilt the innings and a swift 20 from Michael Kelly looked to have settled the game.

But there was still work to do and following a brief collapse, with 20 still required for victory, number 10 Lalor strode to the crease with the game in the balance. And Lalor (10 not out) and Rasool saw the home side home by two wickets.

Sunday saw the visit of Rishton and once again the visitors batted first and had a quick start, storming to 40 off 6 overs with the loss of one wicket to Cole Hayman. Burnley’s start was littered with poor fielding which ultimately cost victory.

Rishton ended on 150-9 with a collapse of late wickets giving Rasool 4-39 to take his tally to over 50 for the season. The hosts were denied two bowling points for when on the last ball a mix up on the running led to a run out chance but Hayman threw a wild throw which went for five overthrows with no one backing up.

In reply the home side had an awful start with Ali harshly adjudged to be caught behind, Josh Whitehead running himself out and then Chris Burton (11) who edged to slip off the impressive Rishton professional Salpietro (6-66).

It was left to Tripathi and hard-hitting Rasool (20) to rebuild the innings but Tripathi fell to Salpietro. The middle order tried to rejuvenate the innings with Brunt (14) and Gus Whitehead (12) until they were both brilliantly caught; Brunt in the slips and Whitehead one-handed.

It was left to Michael Kelly (28) to try and secure the game almost single-handed. From being 95-7 he ushered the tail to get within reach with some trademark slog sweeps.

Hayman (11) batted sensibly until a rush of blood with 20 needed and was stumped. Last man Capstick came in to join Kelly and after some huge sixes, he tried once too often to end seven runs short. Burnley took 17 points over the weekend and have the visit of Church on Saturday and then visit Rishton on Sunday.