Lowerhouse stalwart Stan Heaton is praying that the forthcoming LCB Knockout Cup quarter-final tie against their arch nemesis Burnley is played in good spirit.
The Liverpool Road chairman confessed that the intensity surrounding the rivalry between the two clubs has led to a number of ‘unsavoury’ scenes in the past.
“I don’t want to over-play the derby because that’s what has been done in the past,” he said. “That has led to some unsavoury scenes on the pitch so as a club we’ve decided to take the stance of under-playing it because we don’t want the lads to be worried about side shows. The LCB have guaranteed us two strong umpires for the fixture.”
Instead, the recipient of the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours is encouraging both sides to allow their cricket to do the talking.
With a place in the final four of the competition at stake, Heaton said: “We must focus on our own approach to the game and not get distracted. We’ve got to stand firm.
“We’re hoping for a good batting track because games of 200-plus runs are always much more of a spectacle than a 160-run struggle.
“We want plenty of runs and we’re hoping for a similar outcome to last year when the game went right down to the wire before we came out on top.”
Premature exits in the Twenty20 competition and the Worsley Cup now means that the West Enders are fighting on two fronts which has simply escalated the importance of the county cup and the race for the Lancashire League title. “We started off playing to win four trophies but now we are only in the run in for two,” said Heaton.
“Our chances of winning silverware have been diminishing steadily so we’re desperate to win this. It’s certainly a competition that we feel we can win.
“Burnley showed by beating Bootle that the Lancashire League can compete with teams from Merseyside. It can be done. If we beat Burnley then there’ll be no need for us to fear anybody.”
Lowerhouse will open the weekend with a league encounter against Accrington on home soil tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Ribblesdale Cricket League side Read, in the other half of the draw, are also in the running for a place in the final four as they travel to Farnworth CC. Should they progress they’ll face either Bury or Monton & Weaste CC.
Joey Marshall’s side travel to New Lane to tackle Oswaldtwistle Immanuel in the league tomorrow while Section B side Padiham entertain Salesbury at the Arbories.