Stan Heaton has heaped praise on long-serving West Ender Charlie Cottam after the club’s title-winning captain closed in on the 5,000 run mark in the Lancashire League.
The 38-year-old, who made his Lowerhouse debut in 1996, is just 21 runs short of reaching the landmark ahead of the double-header weekend, having hit 28 runs combined in victories over Rawtenstall and Rochdale to keep his side’s hopes of landing the championship alive.
Cottam, who opens the batting with current skipper Ben Heap, the club’s fifth most prolific run-scorer ever having registered 5,579 runs, has the chance to get his membership card for the Hall of Fame in games against Darwen, at Liverpool Road tomorrow, and in the mini-derby against Nelson at Seedhill on Sunday.
Heaton, who scored 7,939 career runs for ‘House, said: “Charlie Cottam is capable of great things as we’ve seen.
“He’s done it on big occasions, in two cup finals, in semi-finals, in crucial league encounters. It’s good to see him closing in on a milestone like that.”
Also battling for inclusion in to that elite group is Jonathan Finch, who needs 48 runs to hit the mark.
“Finchy is a class act,” said Heaton. “Over the years he has been a superb cricketer and he could have earned a living as a professional in the sport.
“He was our only import for many years after joining from Nelson as a 19-year-old but he’s Lowerhouse through and through. He’s a great all-rounder who has added plenty of wickets as well.
“He has that special quality of producing the goods at the right time. He’s a marvelous player.
“When you’re a player you don’t particularly look at milestones. It’s nice to be able to look back at them when you retire though.”
Padiham’s Callum Clarke had a 30th birthday to remember on Sunday as he hit 106 not out from 71 balls in a vital win over Brinscall at the Arbories. And the blistering knock means the former captain stands on the brink of a magical milestone of 1,000 runs for the season, after moving on to 915, at an average of 36.60.
He will hope he can hit four figures while firing Padiham to safety in Section A, with the side at home to Oswaldtwistle tomorrow, and Read on Sunday.
Read will look to end the season on a high as they enter their final five league games of the season – including a couple of tasty derby clashes.
The Whalley Road side are at Station Road to face Whalley tomorrow, before they travel up the road to Padiham – who recently won the Ramsbottom Cup at Read – on Sunday.
Saturday, September 1st sees a home clash against defending champions Settle , before the Ribblesdale League’s bottom side come to Whalley Road the following day.
And the season comes to an end on Saturday, September 8th at home to Baxenden.