Third time lucky for Lowerhouse skipper?

Ben Heap
Ben Heap

Lowerhouse skipper Ben Heap is looking for his players to step up as matchwinners in the biggest derby in years on Sunday.

The West Enders make the journey across town to MyProtein Turf Moor to face Burnley, with a place in the LCB Knockout Cup Final at Emirates Old Trafford on offer.

For Lowerhouse, the competition represents their best opportunity to land silverware this season, and Heap can’t wait for Sunday to come: “Success breeds success, and both clubs have competed for trophies over the last decade or so, and I think it’s made the rivalry more fierce.

“I’m just looking for the lads to want to be the matchwinner for us.

“We have a few players with maximum confidence at the moment, Paddy Martin was fantastic for us last weekend against Ramsbottom (hitting 80 not out and taking 7-26), while the pro (Ockert Erasmus) is doing well.

“Games like these need one or two match-winning performances, which we’ve probably lacked against Burnley over the last couple of games.

“We’ve been in the games, but not had that big performance with the bat or ball.”

It is beginning to sink in exactly what is on the line – a once in a lifetime experience for many, at the county ground, and Heap added: “There’s a lot at stake, it’s the biggest derby in recent times, probably back to 2013 and the Worsley Cup semi-final, which we don’t have too many good memories of.

“We’re some way off in the league realistically, we’ve not put together the sort of run which can push you towards the title, but we kept plugging away in this competition.

“We’ve been mentally strong, three times we were in the box seat against Clitheroe, and we had to go to a bowlout, and we had the mental strength to see that out.

“That bodes well.”

Heap is one of a number of Lowerhouse players to play at Old Trafford, thought he is eager to get the chance to avenge two defeats on the ground: “I’ve played there twice, for Habergham in 2003 in the Lancashire Schools’ Knockout, and the year after with the Festival team, as captain.

“We lost both times, and Bharat (Tripathi) played in both games as well.

“It would be great to get back there and win.

“I think Paddy and Joe Martin have played there as well, and Joe Hawke.”

On Saturday, Lowerhouse are at Nelson in the league.