Lowerhouse out to maintain the pressure on leaders Accrington

Joe Martin of Lowerhouse in action in the win over Nelson on Sunday
Joe Martin of Lowerhouse in action in the win over Nelson on Sunday

Lowerhouse coach Paul Stansfield is wary of the threat posed by their weekend opponents, despite their lack of wins so far this season.

The Fosters Lancashire League champions sit third in the table, with just one defeat so far this term, in a rain-affected game against Ramsbottom.

And this weekend they take on Enfield, who have only one league win so far, at Dill Hall Lane tomorrow, and, on Sunday, at the Horsfield, mini-derby rivals Colne, who have yet to taste victory in the league, though they sent Church packing in the Worsley Cup last weekend.

Stansfield is hoping to keep the pressure on leaders Acrrington, who have a 27-point advantage, having played a game more, and he said: “Enfield have dangerous players, like their captain Adam Bracewell, and the professional Brad Moses, who has a good first-class record, even though he’s yet to get going in the Lancashire League yet.

“And it’s the same with Colne - their professional Shadley van Schalkwyk can win a game on his own, and they also have the likes of Khurrum Nazir, who’s a good player as well.

“Colne have never changed the way they play, despite struggling over the last couple of years - they’re always aggressive, and if you let them get away from you, they can put you out of the game.

“They’ll do that a few times this season, so we have to hope Sunday isn’t one of those occasions.”

As they look for a third-successive title, the West Enders look no further than the next game, however, as Stansfield explained: “We always just look to try and get the 10 poin first for winning, and any bonus points after that.

“We respect all our opponents.

“Everyone knows we like to bat first - it’s the easiest way to control the game, by getting runs on the board.

“Amateurs chasing targets find it harder than in the professional ranks, as scoreboard pressure gets to them a bit more.

“But if you’re going to win the league, I think you have to win seven or eight games chasing totals down, which is why Graham Lloyd is so important to Accrington as he used to do it for a living.

“He’s like Chris Bleazard for us, coming in at seven or eight and helping us over the line.”

The evergreen Bleazard, now 46, continues to frustrate Lancashire League bowlers, and Stansfield, a former teammate, added: “We can’t put him in to bat for 40/45 overs week in, week out, any more, but we use him how it suits us, and he’s as good as anyone coming in down the order.

“He’s still helping us win games, while the young lads improve with experience.”

Burnley, meanwhile, climbed to equal sixth with Nelson on Sunday after a convincing win ove winless Colne.

Bharat Tripathi’s men have won their last two, including a Worsley Cup success against Bacup, having had a tricky start to the season, coming up against Accrington and Lowerhouse, with their only other defeat coming at Todmorden.

Tonight, Burnley start their Twenty20 campaign at Nelson (6-15 p.m. start), followed by two league games, which see a trip to Rishton tomorrow, and a home game against Nelson on Sunday.

In the Houldsworth Solicitors Ribblesdale League Senior Division, Read and Clitheroe are setting the pace at the top of the table.

Clitheroe - Padiham’s opponents tomorrow at the Arbories - are top by two points from Read, by virtue of extra bonus points.

Champions Barnoldswick are a further 17 points adrift of Read, who host league newcomers Brooksbottom at Whalley Road tomorrow.

Sunday sees the quarter-finals of the Ramsbottom Cup.

Read lost out in the first round on a bowlout to Euxton, but Padiham go in search of a place in the last four at home to Earby.