Lowerhouse looking to make history

FINGERS CROSSED: Jonny Whitehead

FINGERS CROSSED: Jonny Whitehead

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LOWERHOUSE are just two games away from making history.

On the club’s 150th anniversary the West Enders could clinch the Lancashire League and Worsley Cup double.

Paul Stansfield’s side take a 10-point advantage in to the final two games of the 2012 season where they face Nelson at Seedhill tomorrow and Ramsbottom on home soil 24 hours later.

“The players are now two games away from making history,” declared Stansfield. “It’s a funny sort of pressure because it’s a situation we’ve never been in before. But we’ve shown that we can cope with the pressure of big games by winning the league last year with a young side and winning the Worsley Cup this year.

“We are confident and we know what we need to do. We can’t leave anything to chance. You can work out as many permutations as you want but the fact is if we win both of our remaining games we’ll be crowned Lancashire League champions again.”

A derby day defeat to Burnley may still be playing on the mind of the Lowerhouse squad going in to the final weekend, but Stansfield is confident that his side will respond in emphatic fashion.

“We were disappointed in our performance but full credit to Burnley because they played well,” Stansfield said. “They play Accrington on Sunday so I’m hoping they’re just as up for that game as they were against us. I’m sure they will be, I’d never question the integrity of another club. We didn’t do ourselves justice in the derby but we tend to bounce back from defeat pretty emphatically.”

Since the cup competition’s inception in 1919 the double has been won 17 times by eight different clubs. Lowerhouse are now in the position to become the ninth club to achieve that feat, and only the second in 15 years.

“It would be incredible if we can achieve it,” beamed Stansfield. “It would be the first time in the club’s history that it would’ve happened. Games like these are the reasons why we’re involved in cricket.

“No-one in Lowerhouse history has been in this position before. They’ve not had the honour or the privilege to represent the club in this kind of situation. We just need to enjoy it. Just to be where we are as a club is a massive positive.”

Meanwhile, Burnley captain Bharat Tripathi has been buoyed by the form of his team-mates in recent weeks and believes the club could be competing for honours next term.

The 70-run demolition of rivals Lowerhouse on Sunday did much to heighten Tripathi’s ambition as the result cemented a record of five victories and a tie from the last seven games.

“If you take Saturday out of the equation our form has been fantastic,” said the Turf Moor skipper. “Five wins and a tie in our last seven games is a top effort. We want to take that in to the last weekend of the season and try to achieve a top six finish. We’ve shown great form in recent weeks, it’s been league winning form.”

Burnley’s last two games of the campaign take them to the Horsfield to play Colne in the mini-derby tomorrow before they face title hopefuls Accrington at Thorneyholme Road on Sunday. Tripathi insists that if his side can culminate the season on a high then the club can take that form and belief in to the 2013 season where he feels they will be competing at the top end of the Lancashire League hierarchy.

“We want to build and take that form in to next year,” Tripathi said. “We beat the champions and have picked up some very good results lately so that will send a warning signal out to the rest of the league. We will be even more up for it next year. We’ve moved from being an average side to a competitive side.

“We are more than capable of competing at the top end, there’s no doubt about it. With the players we have we are more than capable. I think we will be a very strong side and one of the teams to watch out for. The players have got that belief back.”

Tripathi added: “There’s been a slight change in attitude at the club. It was all about finding that pride in playing for the club. Burnley CC is a huge club competing in a prestigious league and we needed to realise that. We needed to instil that pride back in to our performances. We needed to do it for everyone involved at the club.”

• LOWERHOUSE’S Jonny Whitehead is crossing his fingers for the perfect end to an amazing season.

His county season has now ended with Lancashire Under 19s, and he is to be presented with the Edwin Kay Trophy for the outstanding player on Wednesday at Old Trafford.

He hit 343 runs in five innings at an average of 85, including one century and three 50s.

He has 560 runs as Lowerhouse’s leading scorer, but only has one thing on his mind this weekend, to help the side successfully defend their league title and achieve an historic first league and cup double.