Lowerhouse pro Haasbroek hoping to end his three-year spell on a high

Bowing out: Colne's Lewis Rimmer attacks the bowling from Lowerhouse pro Francois Haasbroek earlier this season
Bowing out: Colne's Lewis Rimmer attacks the bowling from Lowerhouse pro Francois Haasbroek earlier this season

Lowerhouse professional Francois Haasbroek was talking double Dutch ahead of his final game for the West Enders.

But the South African paid man’s dialect was far from nonsensical, he was merely absorbed in his immediate future.

The 26-year-old is determined to end his three-year spell at the club by landing the Holland Cup against Todmorden at the Neville Gee (Recruitment) Ground before taking his trade across the North Sea to the Netherlands for the 2014 campaign.

“It’s nice to know that it’s in our hands,” he said. “I think we can keep hold of second spot in front of a home crowd. On paper it looks like a successful season with a Twenty20 win, reaching the semi-final of the Worsley Cup with the potential of a second place finish. It’s just disappointing that we didn’t compete in the league like we’d have liked. Accrington ran away with the championship but we’d have liked to have pushed them all the way at least.

“The positive is that we managed to get hold of another trophy for the cabinet. If you can keep picking up trophies when you’re not performing to the best of your ability then it’s brilliant. That’s the mark of a top team.”

The all-rounder has certainly contributed to the club’s development at Liverpool Road. In his first season he guided ‘House to their second ever Lancashire League title, and last year he helped seal the league and Worsley Cup double. And in his final season he added the Twenty20 trophy to his CV with a win over holders Ramsbottom on home soil. In all Haasbroek has tabled more than 2,000 runs - top scoring with 131 earlier this term - plus over 200 wickets.

“Unfortunately I can’t come back because I’m unable to attain a work permit,” he said. “I knew before I returned here for the summer that this would be my final season. I’m going to Holland next year which will be a bit of a change. There’s a few opportunities for me over there and clubs can have more than one professional. I’m going to Melbourne first to play from September to March though.

“It’s sad to see things coming to an end. I get a lump in my throat whenever I think about the final game. It’s very emotional. I feel part of the family here and I’ve made some great friends. It feels like Lowerhouse is my club so it will be difficult to step away from it. I wish everyone involved at the club all the best and may be one day I’ll return.

“I’ve got some amazing memories from my time here. I couldn’t imagine a better place to be. Winning the league and the Worsley Cup is among the greatest memories in my whole career, never mind from the Lancashire League. It’s a well supported club, it’s made me a better person and they’ve prepared me for anything that’s ahead. I know I can count on the people here.”

Meanwhile, Burnley skipper Bharat Tripathi is hoping Todmorden can oblige by upsetting the odds on the final day.

Maximum points would see Burnley record their best points total since their crowning as champions in 2006.

Ahead of the fixture at Alexandra Meadows, Tripathi said: “We’re looking forward to the last game now against East Lancs. We’re seven points behind second place Lowerhouse so we need them to come up short at home to Todmorden. We know it’s an outside chance and the odds are stacked against us but we’ll see.”

On their rivals’ task, Tripathi, who will be without James Capstick on Sunday, added: “Todmorden have got some very dangerous batters with their pro (Geeth Alwis) as well as Simon Newbitt and Ben Sutcliffe. The game hinges on what those players can produce. Lowerhouse will be clear favourites but Todmorden will make things difficult for them. Their pro bowls left arm spin and the track is conducive to spin bowling so it will be interesting.”

The Worsley Cup winners have gelled as a unit this term, and the club’s current form and mentality suggests that silverware will be adorning the Turf Moor trophy cabinet in the immediate future. There’s a seven month gap until the new campaign begins, but Tripathi is already looking ahead.

“Our season certainly signifies improvement,” said Tripathi. “We’ve won the Worsley Cup and we can finish second or third. But it’s testament to the attitude of everyone involved at the club that we want more and we’re seeking further improvement. The first team is responsible for the image of the club and the perspective people have on us. We are capable of more and we’ll look to strengthen ahead of next year.”