Lowerhouse lose out in West End thriller

Valiant effort: Chris Bleazard made 49 for Lowerhouse, but the West Enders fell to a one-wicket defeat in a rain-affected game away to Church

Valiant effort: Chris Bleazard made 49 for Lowerhouse, but the West Enders fell to a one-wicket defeat in a rain-affected game away to Church

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Lowerhouse were leapfrogged in the Fosters Lancashire League table by Church on Sunday following a thriller at the other West End.

Church climbed from seventh to fifth, leaving Lowerhouse to remain in sixth, after pulling off a one-wicket win at Blackburn Road, on a day where rain hit the league hard.

Joe Hawk for Lowerhouse Cricket club in their game against Church

Joe Hawk for Lowerhouse Cricket club in their game against Church

The Oswaldtwistle side completed the double over Charlie Cottam’s side in the process, having won a run feast on the opening day at Liverpool Road.

The game was delayed by the weather, and when play started, we had a 31-over game.

Visiting skipper Craig Fergusson won the toss and put Lowerhouse in to bat,and Church had an early success as Lloyd Aspin took the first of his three victims, trapping Jon Finch for four, though he appeared unfortunate, with the ball hitting him high on the pads.

Ben Heap and the incoming Matt Walker settled things down and moved towards a half-century partnership before Heap (24) was caught at mid-wicket by Sam Holt off professional Usman Tariq at 51.

Walker was bowled by Tariq for 29 with the score on 69, but paid man Cobus Pienaar and Chris Bleazard shared 52 before the former was run out at 121, with just over 10 overs remaining.

Bleazard and Joe Hawke again shared a useful partnership, compiling 48 before Bleazard was caught at long off for 49 by Aspin off Andrew Bentley.

Cottam followed six runs later, bowled by Aspin, and two more wickets fell before the close, Fergus Bailey caught behind by Sam Tucker off Bentley, while Aspin had Hawke (23) caught by Bentley as Lowerhouse finished on 193-8.

Aspin took 3-79 for Church.

Church’s reply had reached 32 when they lost two wickets in successive balls.

Levi Wolfenden (12) fell to Bailey via a fine diving catch from Edgar, and Aspin followed for a golden duck, caught and bowled.

The rain came down again, but on the resumption of play, professional Tariq (25) was out to make it 40-3, again caught by Finch off Pienaar.

Harvey Aspin and Holt took the score to 77 before the latter was out to Finch for eight, caught by Walker.

With 12 overs left, Church needed 85 to reach their revised target, with six wickets remaining.

And when 22 came off Paddy Martin’s next over, the visitors were in command.

Bailey saw off Aspin for 6 at 119, caught by Martin, before Pienaar returned to remove skipper Fergusson (44), Tucker (5), Andrew Bentley (11) and Jack Gaskill (0).

With one wicket remaining, Church required eight runs off the last over.

After opening with a dot ball, Pienaar then went for a single, putting Joel Gaskill on strike, who hit a six to tie proceedings.

Gaskill added a single off the next ball to see Church home with two balls and a wicket to spare.

Elsewhere, Nelson beat East Lancs by seven wickets, leaders Ramsbottom beat champions Accrington by eight wickets and Rawtenstall beat Rishton by six wickets.

Burnley’s game with Haslingden, and fixtures between Colne and Todmorden and Enfield and Bacup were abandoned without a ball bowled, and those teams receive three points each.

Saturday sees the first fixed replay date, with Burnley looking for their first league win at home to Nelson, and Lowerhouse at Colne.

Then on Sunday, it is derby day at Turf Moor as Burnley host Lowerhouse.