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Burnley face huge test against leaders

Dan Pickup
Dan Pickup
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Burnley captain Dan Pickup is eagerly anticipating the “ultimate test” when they take on unbeaten Lancashire League leaders Walsden.

The 2015 champions will no longer be considered contenders in this season’s title race but they can still have an influence on the outcome when they host the newcomers at Turf Moor on Saturday.

Despite already losing four times this term, Pickup is hoping that his side can do what nobody else has been capable of doing in 13 attempts.

He said: “It’s a big weekend for the club. Walsden’s first team are unbeaten so it’s a good opportunity to be the first side to knock them over.

“It’s the ultimate test for us and the perfect incentive. Nobody has done them over yet. We want to be the first to do that and send out a message to everyone else. We want to show that we’re still a strong side.”

The club’s second string also face Walsden in the final of the Second XI Cup at home on Sunday and Pickup fancies their chances.

While captain Aiden Tate hit 18 fours and two sixes in a knock of 127 against Milnrow at the weekend, 15-year-old Harry Tomlinson, 14-year-old Rahman Zore and 16-year-old Zoaib Mohammed featured for the senior side.

“Both our second teams are up at the top of their league and they play each other in the cup final,” said Pickup. “Hopefully they’ll earn the club its first piece of silverware this season.

“We’ve got a couple of finals coming up so it would be nice to get one banked this weekend. We’ll be going down to support the lads.

“Our second string is very strong. They’re confident they can do it. Aiden Tate is the captain, he scored 100 at the weekend and batted really well.

“There’s a good balance to the side. There are a lot of senior players who have had a taste of first team cricket and some talented youngsters.”

Meanwhile, Ben Heap’s Lowerhouse are refusing to give up the fight for the Lancashire Cricket League crown.

The West Enders last won the title in 2014 and are well in contention again having lost just twice in 13 games.

The Liverpool Road outfit, who are three points clear of third place Ramsbottom, have the challenge of catching unbeaten Walsden.

The leaders, who are newcomers to the set up, have clocked up 150 points so far this season, 16 more than ‘House.

However, rivals Burnley could do them a huge favour this weekend as they welcome the table toppers to the MyProtein Turf Moor.

Lowerhouse, though, will have to take care of their own business when they tackle Crompton at Glebe Street.

Elsewhere in the division, Ramsbottom play Colne at the Horsfield and fourth place Darwen - runners up last term - make the tip to Bentgate to take on Haslingden.