West Enders win controversial clash at Church to move second in the table

Francois Haasbroek

Francois Haasbroek

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LOWERHOUSE won for a fifth consecutive time on Saturday to go second in the Lancashire League - but not before a couple of controversial decisions went in their favour against Church.

The Lowerhouse players will feel that justice has been partly done after being on the wrong end of some horrendous umpiring in the opening game of the season at Bacup.

Church were cruising at 55 for no wicket, chasing 159 for victory, when Levi Wolfenden was adjudged to be lbw to Jon Finch (pictured, left), and Saeed Anwar in the same manner to West Enders professional Francois Haasbroek (centre).

Home captain Craig Fergusson got himself involved in an incident with the umpires at the fall of Wolfenden’s wicket, and will be reported to the League.

The decisions were certainly the turning point, as Church lost a further six wickets for the addition of only 36 runs, struggling to 91-6, and in so doing dropped below the required run rate in the event of the match being curtailed for rain interruption.

The chase would have been even harder without Lowerhouse providing Church with their top scorer of extras with 28 runs, including 11 wides and 6 no balls.

Lowerhouse had struggled in the bowler-friendly conditions against all the Church bowlers, but a stand of 42 between Fergus Bailey and Joe Beneduce (pictured, right) provided Lowerhouse with a competive score of 158-8 in the completed 50 overs.

The former Lowerhouse sub-professional Anwar claimed 5-53 with his slow left arm bowling.

Wolfenden and Fergusson seemed in little difficulty against Haasbroek and Finch, but when they both departed, along with Anwar, with the score still on 55, the game was changed in favour of Lowerhouse.

Haasbroek and Finch pushed home the advantage after a rain delay reduced the Church target to 116 runs in 32 overs.

A second rain interruption seemed to cause some confusion of revised targets, and as time ran out, the game was ended with Church 23 runs short of the revised target.

The following day, however, Lowerhouse’s Worsley Cup first round tie at holders Colne at the Horsfield was abandoned without a ball being bowled. The mini-derby rivals will try again on Saturday, while the West Enders entertain Colne in the league on Sunday.