Lowerhouse lose final – but cement top spot

Final defeat: Cobus Pienaar hit 26 for Lowerhouse against Church, but the visitors walked away with the silverware
Final defeat: Cobus Pienaar hit 26 for Lowerhouse against Church, but the visitors walked away with the silverware

Lancashire League leaders Lowerhouse lost out in Friday’s 20/20 Final against Church at the Neville Gee Recruitment Ground.

But on Sunday, they eased past mini-derby rivals Colne to maintain their hold on top spot in the league.

On Friday, they fell 19 runs short as Church won their first senior silverware since 1974 in front of a huge crowd, of around 2,000.

Lowerhouse had looked in control as they restricted the visitors to 81-5 off 15 overs, but Phil Gilrane smashed 46 not out off just 27 balls to help add 51 off the last five overs to close on 132-8.

Matt Walker made an early breakthrough as he had Lloyd Aspin caught by Ben Gorton for 6, and he then had Harvey Aspin caught behind by Joe Martin for 2.

And when Jon Finch sent back Levi Wolfenden for 14, Church were 26-3.

Church professional Usman Tariq had made 20 when he was removed by opposite number Cobus Pienaar at 46, before captain Craig Fergusson and Gilrane began to repair the innings.

Fergusson became Walker’s third victim for 24, caught and bowled, and Adam Greenwood hit 11, but Gilrane took his side to a defendable score.

Lowerhouse looked well set in reply as openers Pienaar and Jonny Whitehead shared 39 for the first wicket, before the pro was caught off Andrew Bentley for 26.

Whitehead followed a run later, caught by Fergusson off Tariq for 12, and then Gilrane saw off Ben Heap for a duck.

Walker and skipper Charlie Cottam’s looked to have put the West Enders back on course as they shared 36 for the fourth wicket, before Walker was removed by Kamran Basharat’s first ball for 21.

Gaskill and Tariq sent back Finch (6) and Gorton (5) cheaply, to Gaskill and Tariq, and Cottam (25) and Paddy Martin (0) followed suit in the last over, bowled by Basharat, who ended up with 3-12 from just three overs, with the last five overs going for only 26 as Church held on to win.

On Sunday, meanwhile, the West Enders made light work of Colne, bowling them out for 33, as they chased 139-9 at Liverpool Road.

Lowerhouse had been 24-5, as David Wallbank took his best ever figures of 5-27, but Paddy Martin (33) and Joe Hawke (35) put on 70 for the sixth wicket. Ben Gorton then hit 17, before Joe Martin (11) and Chris Bleazard (11 not out) shared 22 to take the tally to 139-9.

In reply, Matt Walker took a career best 5-9 from 10 overs, including the identically-named Colne skipper, as the visitors were dismissed for 33, including 12 extras.

Hawke added 2-15 and Pienaar 3-8.

Burnley, however, lost to Nelson at Seedhill, as the hosts gained revenge for their Worsley Cup semi-final defeat last weekend.

After winning the toss, Nelson batted, but lost an early wicket, with Lewis Bradley (1) caught behind off Cole Hayman, but Tyler McGladdery and Toxy Hussain put on 44 before McGladdery (23) guided a shot to Aidan Tate at backward point.

Hussain soon followed, caught behind, again off Hayman for 24. At this point, a spectator was taken ill and an air ambulance landed on the field. Fortunately the spectator recovered sufficiently to be led away, and play resumed with Ryan Canning and Neil Thompson building the biggestpartnership (60) of the afternoon in 15 overs. Daniel Pickup saw off Thompson (27), tempting him into lifting an on­ drive, only to be caught by MattTomlinson at mid­on.

Harrison Phelan (4) and Joe Scuderi (3) helped Canning take the score to 142-5, but the last five wickets fell for just four runs, with Canning unbeaten on 50. Hayman finished with 5-52, and Jhangir Liaqat 3-15.

The Burnley innings never seemed to get into gear. Pickup was well caught by Shah off Meade for 10 and Chris Holt (3) went next, lbw to Halstead. Josh Whitehead (25) and Chris Burton (16) put on 31, but Thompson had Whitehead caught at cover, and Canning took a smart catch off Thompson to dismiss Bharat Tripathi (1).

With the score on 74, Tate (9) was bowled by Hussain, and Burton fell to a catch at backward square­leg to give Phelan a wicket. Stephen Brunt (21) and Tomlinson (8) took their team to 98 but the last four wickets fell quickly. Lewis Bradley took a low, diving catch to end Brunt’s resistance and Canning performed a slick stumping to dismiss Tomlinson.

Hayman was run out and Liaqat lofted a simple return catch to McGladdery, as Nelson won by 36 runs.

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