Lowerhouse in close pursuit of Burnley!

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Reigning Lancashire League champions Lowerhouse continued their great start to the season with two impressive victories.

On Saturday they won the game of the day against title favourites Ramsbottom by seven wickets.

Without skipper Charlie Cottam, ‘House lost the toss and were asked to field.

Professional Cobus Pienaar again impressed, returning figures of 5-51.

The South African reduced Ramsbottom to 15-4 and 31-5, with Matt Walker also taking 2-44 and Fergus Bailey 2-33.

Ramsbottom professional Daryn Smit scored 92 and youngester Brad Fielding made 28 as Ramsbottom posted 171-9.

In reply, Lowerhouse were always ahead of the run rate and won with overs to spare.

Simon Read removed Joe Martin for 13 at 27, and Smit removed Jonny Whitehead for 26 at 42.

After Fergus Bailey had also fallen to Read, Pienaar and stand in skipper Walker put together an unbroken stand of 129 to see Lowerhouse home.

Pienaar hit eight fours in making 59, and Walker hit six fours and two maximums in making 58.

On Sunday, ‘House hosted Accrington and suffered a double blow prior to the game, with Jonny Whitehead unable to play due to a groin injury, and Pienaar unable to bowl having aggravated an hamstring injury in the warm-up.

Youngster Dominic Stuart was drafted in for his Lancashire League debut.

Lowerhouse won the toss and chose to bat. It was slow going as ‘House posted just 135-9 from their 50 overs.

Paddy Martin top-scored with an unbeaten 28, Pienaar made 26 and Chris Bleazard 17, while Fergus Bailey and Lewis Marsden both made 16 apiece.

Accrington professional Ockert Erasmus took 6-43 from his 17 overs.

The Accrington reply never got going, as the all-amateur attack kept the visitors under pressure from the very first ball.

Fergus Bailey continued his impressive all-round form, taking 4-41 to reduce Accrington to 60-7. Accrington professional Erasmus made 19, Ali Hasham 14, Ramiz Hussain and Matt Wilson 12 apiece, and Jimmy Hayhurst made an unbeaten 16, but Accrington finished 98 all out.

Walker returned figures of 2-30, Paddy Martin 1-15 and debutant Stuart 1-9, with the latter taking a wicket with only his fourth ball in Lancashire League cricket.

Lowerhouse are at Haslingden on Saturday, and host Nelson on Sunday.

• Scorecards will appear in Friday’s Express Sport.

• James Anderson inspired England to a remarkable nine-wicket victory in the second Test against West Indies in Grenada.

Anderson tore the heart out of the hosts’ batting, before pulling off a superb run out from 25 metres, and then claimed two catches to set up an unlikely win, as England were left requiring 143 runs to take a 1-0 series lead.

Anderson finished with six wickets in the match to move onto 390 Test scalps in total, after beating Sir Ian Botham’s Test record of 383.