Burnley and Lowerhouse looking for response after opening day loss

Home defeat: Stalwart Chris Bleazard in action for Lowerhouse against Church on Sunday
Home defeat: Stalwart Chris Bleazard in action for Lowerhouse against Church on Sunday
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Burnley skipper Bharat Tripathi is hoping to iron out a few creases ahead of the season’s first double-header weekend.

Haslingden avenged last year’s domestic heartache by beating the Worsley Cup champions on the opening day of the 2014 term at Bentgate.

Qasim Ali and man of the match Michael Brown did the damage on finals day at Turf Moor - both accumulating knocks of 82 with the latter’s unbeaten - as Burnley won by 85 runs.

However, there was to be no repeat of last August’s success as Haslingden professional Ashar Zaidi (80) and new skipper Phil Hayes (59) inspired the home side to a 52-run triumph.

Following their unsuccessful chase of a 225-run target, Tripathi, who top-scored for the visitors with 44 runs, said: “We knew it would be a difficult start to the league campaign, but still felt it was a game we were more than capable of winning. Having said that, Haslingden were well worth their 12 points.

“We bowled very well in difficult conditions. In particular, Tom Lawson delivered a spell of bowling that was far beyond the expectations of a 14-year-old. He bowled at a former league pro and current first class cricketer, when both were set on 50-plus scores, and ended up with the wicket of Hayes. He has plenty to improve on, but we were very pleased with his contributions.”

Tripathi added: “From a team perspective, we let Haslingden off the hook a couple of times in the field, and then again with the bat, as we got into good positions to chase down their score.”

Burnley will now travel to Centre Vale to take on Todmorden tomorrow before entertaining champions Accrington in the club’s first home game of the season. Tripathi’s side have already endured defeat to Stuart Crabtree’s men as Accrington lifted the Ron Singleton Colne Trophy with an 86-run triumph at Thorneyholme Road earlier in the month.

“We’ll go again this weekend looking to iron out some mistakes from the week just gone,” Tripathi declared. “Both games will present two very different tests - but they’re both tests we can pass.

“We’re coming up against a pace bowling exam against Todmorden and obviously the challenge of playing the champions, in the form of Accrington. We also have appearances from Michael Brown, on Saturday, and Jonathan Clare, on Sunday, to look forward to which will provide us with a welcomed boost.”

Meanwhile, Lowerhouse will look to bounce back from their opening day defeat to Church on home soil.

The hosts set a competitive score of 253-7 with Ben Heap (55) and Jack Edgar (54) leading the batting line.

However, a 134-run stand for the opening wicket between Levi Wolfenden (102) and paid man Usman Tariq (77) put Church in the ascendency.

Lloyd Aspin then hit 58 to see the visitors over the line with an eight-wicket victory to seal 10 points, while ‘House were left pointless.

Charlie Cottam’s side entertain Rawtenstall at the Neville Gee (Recruitment) Ground tomorrow before travelling to Dill Hall Lane to take on Enfield on Sunday.

Elsewhere, the club’s second string secured a comprehensive victory over Church to kickstart their campaign.

Ben Gorton’s confident and composed knock of 83 sent ‘House on their way to a big total. Lewis Marsden (37), Josh Lavin (36), Fergus Bailey (27), Declan Bailey (18) and Scott Hope (17) also got in on the act to set a target of 255.

In the reverse, Fergus Bailey claim four victims at the expense of 21 runs and he was accompanied by Corey Hope who contributed with 3-32 to extinguish Church for 127 runs.

The weekend also saw the club’s Under 13s Lions overcome the Tigers while the Under 9 Hornets provided a greater sting than the Bees.