THE season for champions Lowerhouse finally got underway after two weekends of torrential rainfall with a 79-run win over East Lancashire.
Winning the toss and choosing to bat, Lowerhouse enjoyed a century opening stand between Johnny Whitehead and 2011 Lowerhouse Player of the Year, Ben Heap.
On a wicket that unsurprisingly was slow paced, the pair looked secure and only looked in danger when they tried to play more forcing shots after the halfway stage of the innings had been reached.
Wickets fell at regular intervals as Lowerhouse strove to increase the scoring rate, but were happy at the interval with a creditable 187-7.
Whitehead was the highest scorer with an excellent 61 as he continued his impressive early-season form.
Chester was the pick of the East Lancashire bowlers with 3-44.
Veteran David Pearson and new signing Panchbhaya looked in little trouble against a tight but unpenetrative opening attack.
However, by bowling good lines and lengths, Lowerhouse began to squeeze the opposition.
A brilliant piece of fielding by Joe Hawke at 63 for no wicket ran out Panchbhaya, and the introduction of Hawke and the tight bowling of Jon Finch, Francois Haasbroek and Fergus Bailey increased the pressure on the batsmen, whose run rate was constantly reducing.
A second direct hit, this time by Paddy Martin, accounted for Bhada.
Hawke bowled with aggression and pace, and recorded his best bowling performance for Lowerhouse of 6-28.
Lowerhouse will be pleased with their first day efforts in not ideal conditions, especially the fielding which improved as the innings developed, highlighted by the two brilliant direct hits.
The West Enders were at Colne yesterday, and this weekend are at Bacup on Saturday, and at home to Nelson on Sunday.