Lowerhouse hoping history will be repeated at Centre Vale

Back home: Cobus Pienaar has returned to South Africa
Back home: Cobus Pienaar has returned to South Africa

Two years ago Lowerhouse went to Centre Vale needing seven points to clinch the Lancashire League title for only the second time in the club’s history.

And, quite poignantly, the West Enders travel to Todmorden once more needing an identical amount of points to record their third championship in four seasons.

Charlie Cottam’s men were less than impressive with the bat on that occasion, but Jonathan Finch tore through the home side’s batting order with career best figures of 8-38 to seal a 45-run triumph.

And it’s the bowling ranks - imperious in recent weeks - that will be expected to lay the foundations on Sunday.

After restricting second place Ramsbottom to 70 runs at the Neville Gee (Recruitment) Ground last weekend, club chairman Stan Heaton said: “We won the championship at Todmorden two years ago so to win it there again would be quite poignant really.

“It’s not really sunk in yet because we’re trying not to get carried away. We still need to get seven points yet. I’ve been focussing too much on the magnificent way in which we demolished Ramsbottom. That should reverberate around the league as to how powerful the performance was.”

He added: “It was one of a number of excellent bowling performances. Only one side has managed to hit 150 runs in our last nine games. We’ve limited teams to 33, 57, 69, 80 and 82 in that sequence.

“We’ve been bowling extremely well - led expertly by our pro Cobus Pienaar. He’s the second leading professional in terms of wickets taken in the league. That’s what I’ve been getting carried away with. We’ve got to win on Sunday and then we can celebrate.”

The South African paid man accrued 68 wickets this term making him the second most potent bowler in the league behind Daryn Smit. However, Pienaar has returned to his homeland in preparation for the new campaign while the same applies for Todmorden’s Michael Neser.

That absence has been addressed by ‘House with the capture of sub pro Christi Viljoen who claimed sublime figures of 9-21 in Blackpool’s Northern League fixture with Lancaster earlier in the month.

“Todmorden are a strong side on their day, but fortunately we don’t have to face their outstanding pro,” said Heaton.

“That’s in our favour though we won’t have our pro either. We do have a very able deputy, however, in the Northern League’s top pro Christi Viljoen. If we do win it’ll be a shame that Cobus won’t be there to celebrate with us though.”

Lowerhouse have won everything there is to win on a domestic front in recent years, and Heaton fully expects that fruitful trend to continue.

“We’ve won our previous trophies with an extremely young side and a very capable pro. These lads are now getting older and wiser. Very few of them are 24 yet so you can argue that they’ll get even better if they maintain that hunger.”

Meanwhile, Burnley will be looking to extend their purple patch to five wins in eight outings when they host Rishton at the Myprotein Turf Moor on Sunday.

Professional Chris Holt was in resplendent form in the latest triumph when striking a century against Church on home soil.

The Worsley Cup winners also had skipper Bharat Tripathi to thank has he added 62 to a 217-9 total.

Cole Hayman and Tripathi chipped in with three wickets apiece in the reverse, Holt claimed two while Tom Lawson took the other.

• Remaining fixtures, Sunday, September 7th: Lowerhouse v Accrington; Church v Burnley. Sunday, September 14th: Ramsbottom v Lowerhouse; Burnley v Enfield.