Lowerhouse end the champions’ record run

Francois Haasbroek
Francois Haasbroek

ANOTHER two wins - including victory over champions Ramsbottom - elevated Lowerhouse to third place over the weekend, three points off top spot.

The West Enders won a rain-reduced match at home to Todmorden on Saturday, before ending Ramsbottom’s Lancashire League record of consecutive wins at 20.

A good all-round performance by Lowerhouse secured a deserved win at Liverpool Road.

After sterling work by the ground staff, the umpires calculated a 28 over game commencing at 3-30 p.m.

Todmorden won the toss and inserted Lowerhouse, for whom Johnny Whitehead and Chris Bleazard, in the absence of Jon Finch, opened the innings. Wickets fell at regular intervals as Lowerhouse played positively in an attempt to post a competitive score of around 150.

Bleazard was unluckily bowled off his pads, and Paddy Martin was bowled playing through mid wicket.

Whitehead and Francois Haasbroek (pictured) added 35 before Whitehead was the victim of a sharp return catch. Captain Charlie Cottam departed cheaply before an unbeaten stand of 72 between Haasbroek and Fergus Bailey put the home side in a strong position. Lowerhouse lost two crucial overs to a quick shower in the final assault.

Chasing 133 to win from 26 overs, Todmorden regularly lost wickets as Haasbroek and Jonny Russell bowled throughout the innings.

Todmorden batted a little erratically, playing and missing, but then producing several lusty blows, producing boundaries.

The wicket of professional Qaioer Abbas was decisive, bowled by Russell, who put in an admirable shift for his team. Barker tried in vain to win the game but Todmorden fell 22 runs of their target.

A delighted Cottam said after the game: “We seem to be playing consistent cricket in all areas of the game, and our fielding has been fantastic taking the pressure from the bowlers. I’m happy with how we are playing and the team spirit is lively to say the least!”

On Sunday at Ramsbottom, a game of fluctuating fortunes was finally decided by the weather gods, who decreed that this was to be Lowerhouse’s day. Needing 42 from six overs with six wickets in hand, the betting was with the home side.

The anticipated rain arrived when Ramsbottom were behind on run rate, proving Lowerhouse with four consecutive victories.

The day commenced with Lowerhouse winning the toss and batting, and after a confident start were reduced to 70-5 from 30 overs when Bailey joined Cottam at the crease. Both players played positively and added a further 31 runs for the following 10 overs as Haslam and Fielding continued to impose themselves on a wicket that was generally good, but aided the medium pacers with occasional unpredictability.

The final 10 overs produced 101 runs as both players played superbly, with a mixture of drives and clean hitting against the bowling of Fielding and Walmsley.

Cottam and Bailey had added 132 unbeaten runs for the sixth wicket, being well short of the Lancashire League record for the sixth wicket of 203 by Dearden and Knowles for Haslingden but still a remarkable feat.

Ramsbottom required 203 runs to win and were always behind the rate despite Lowerhouse being too generous with wide deliveries.

Professional Shannon Stewart was beginning to turn the game in Ramsbottoms’s favour with a classy half century but with six overs to go, the forecasted rain ended proceedings in favour of Lowerhouse.