Burnley confirmed supremacy over rivals Lowerhouse this term, scooping the bragging rights for a second time in three meetings.
However, though the Turf Moor outfit registered a three-run triumph over ‘House on Sunday, the West Enders hold a six-point advantage in the table with two fixtures remaining.
Burnley’s weekend opened with defeat to Nelson at Seedhill. After an economic bowling spell from Graham Lalor, it was professional Adnan Rasool that made an early breakthrough to leave the hosts 23-1. It was the introduction of paceman Cole Hayman who ripped out two wickets to leave them 59-3 with only Nelson paid man Ryan Canning standing firm to hold the innings together with a fine unbeaten 58.
Wickets tumbled at the other end with James Capstick (1-25), Rasool (3-36 off 17) and skipper Bharat Tripathi (4-38 off 11) bowling Nelson out off the last ball for 139.
In reply the visitors were reduced to 37-3 with Chris Burton (12), Dan Pickup (6) and Qasim Ali bizarrely run out for 12 when he thought the ball had gone past the keeper. Tripathi tried to rebuild the innings but couldn’t find anyone to stay with him as wickets continued to fall with the score reduced to 76-7 including the captain for 30 straight after drinks. Stephen Brunt (29) was the only other batsmen to get into double figures as he had partnerships of 21 with Lalor and 16 with Capstick to finish on 115. This left Burnley with five bonus points in a disappointing defeat.
But the response was emphatic as Burnley edged past Lowerhouse at the Neville Gee (Recruitment) Ground 24 hours later.
Burnley won the toss and elected to bat on a poor wicket which gave extravagant movement for the seam bowlers and surprisingly spun square for the spinners.
Burnley were soon in trouble with both in-form batsmen Ali (2) and Burton (1) falling early. Pickup (21) was starting to get into full flow until smashing the ball back to bowler Matthew Walker.
Walker bowled impressively with bounce to claim 5-32 off 13 overs and combined with professional Francois Haasbroek (3-38 off 16) to put the brakes on Burnley.
Tripathi batted well until he tried to attack off spinner Paddy Martin (1-28) and was bowled for 20. At 76-6 Burnley were in big trouble and 100 was looking a long way off but Brunt and Michael Kelly combined to put on a partnership of 21 with Kelly (23) taking the attack to Lowerhouse with a couple of big sixes. Brunt ended on 20 and managed to get the total to 137 with some late order scrambling of runs from the lower order.
Burnley needed early wickets and had the perfect start and reduced Lowerhouse to 21-4 with professional Rasool claiming three early wickets with Jack Edgar (4) and Joe Hawke (2) caught one handed at short leg by Josh Whitehead while Ben Heap (4) was caught by Hayman trying to attack at deep mid off.
It was Lalor (1-18 off 9) who claimed the in-form Whitehead with a sharp catch by Pickup in the gully. Haasbroek (22) and Joe Martin (12) then put together a partnership of 41 to get the home side back in the game until Martin ran himself out in a mix up with the pro.
Hayman came on and claimed two important wickets by getting Haasbroek caught behind for 22 and then bowling Walker for 2. At 77-7 Chris Bleazard and captain Charlie Cottam put on a stand of 40 until Cottam was out for 22 to the returning Rasool who bowled beautifully in claiming 4-37 off 17.
Tripathi then bowled Paddy Martin for one to leave 16 needed off two overs and then restricted the hosts further in the final over.
After a few singles 10 were required off the last two balls with Bleazard on strike. He hit the ball straight over Tripathi and for six but he couldn’t repeat that with the final delivery as Burnley claimed a three-run win.
Meanwhile, Lowerhouse’s first win in August against Colne suggests why their grip on second spot has slipped.
In the re-arranged game on Saturday, the West Enders were put into bat at Liverpool Road and in making a healthy 234-7 may have caused Colne to regret their decision.
Good contributions were had from Jack Edgar (27) and Bleazard (26) while skipper Cottam showed some of his old verve with 23. The highlight of the innings, though, was a 92-run partnership for the fourth wicket between Heap and Walker.
This came after ‘House looked in trouble at 63-3 when Colne pro Shadley van Schalkwyk removed his opposite number for a duck. Heap was in masterful form with a well-made 62 and Matt Walker even more dominant with 57, his maiden League half-century.
Colne’s reply never really got off the ground and it took a 27-run last wicket partnership for them to reach the miserable 114 final total. Van Schalkwyk briefly got the pulses racing with a hard hitting 37 including four six hits. Haasbroek had the impressive return of 4-13, but six ‘House bowlers had a wicket to their name. One of those was Walker, who was exemplary in the field taking four good catches in an all-round man of the match performance.