LOWERHOUSE went top of the Fosters Lancashire League as they maintained their 100% start to the season over the weekend.
On Sunday, the West Enders enjoyed an emphatic 156-run victory over Nelson.
Lowerhouse had hired heat blowers and had worked tirelessly on the wicket and surrounds to ensure the match commenced on time.
Great credit goes to the groundsman and helpers for their achievements, as the lower parts of the ground were under water earlier in the week, encouraging local wildlife to swim serenely on it’s waters!
Lowerhouse won the toss and batted, and were given a perfect platform with Ben Heap, Johnny Whitehead and Joe Martin (pictured) contributing as they have done so skilfully in every match so far.
Heap passed 2,000 runs for the club when he reached 34.
Professional Francois Haasbroek entered the fray at 132-2, and after a few sighters played an innings of great belligerence, achieving his half century in 26 balls.
The middle order batsmen sacrificed their wickets in the pursuit of quick runs to achieve a creditable 232-5 at the tea interval.
Nelson never recovered from the opening damage inflicted by Haasbroek and the returning Jon Finch, losing wickets at regular intervals, with only the resolute and talented skipper Neil Thompson reaching double figures.
Finch was unplayable against his former club and finished with 7-33 to become the fourth Lowerhouse player of the match to receive a well-deserved collection.
Paddy Martin took 2-12 enjoying his first bowl of the season.
The previous day, Lowerhouse strode to the top of the league by thrashing Bacup by 10 wickets at Lanehead.
Bacup won the toss and unsurprisingly decided to bat on a wicket that usually becomes lower and slower in the second innings.
Collinge and former Lowerhouse player Jack McGregor looked in little difficulty against the opening attack of Joe Hawke and Haasbroek, who seemed to be having initial difficulty finding the right length on the damp but drying wicket.
The first bowling change was immediately successful as Fergus Bailey had Collinge adjudged lbw with his first delivery with a bowl that pitched off stump and would have hit middle.
The bowlers settled to better lines and lengths and continued to keep the scoring rate under reasonable control.
McGregor ran himself out and there followed a steady stream of wickets as Haasbroek and Matty Walker stuck to their tasks.
Belligerent hitting by McCluskie and Thompson took the target to 123 with Haasbroek claiming three wickets, and the pick of the bowlers, Walker, 1-7.
The travelling Lowerhouse supporters were less than confident at the interval, thinking of the struggle they had seen in the first innings, together with memories of 2011 when Lowerhouse were shot out for less than 50 in the corresponding fixture.
They needn’t have worried as Whitehead and Heap made light of the conditions with some delightful strokes and sound defence.
Whitehead passed his 500 career runs in hitting 11 fours in 91 balls and Heap six fours in 60 balls.
Lowerhouse won at a canter with 25 overs to spare.
On Saturday Lowerhouse are at Accrington, before hosting Rawtenstall in the Worsley Cup on Sunday.