‘House hand victory to Tod

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Lowerhouse lost out by the narrowest of margins in their top-of-the-table clash against Todmorden at Centre Vale.

The West Enders’ target ahead of the clash was to topple prolific professional Kelly Smuts who had already totalled 388 runs in the Lancashire League this term.

The visitors executed that part of the plan to perfection, limiting the South African record-breaker to a measly tally of seven as Joey Hawke and Adam Hugill combined.

Ben Heap’s side may not have accounted for Kristian Garland’s half-century midway through the batting order but, even with the addition of Ben Sutcliffe’s 35 and Elliott Gilford’s knock of 22, ‘House kept their hosts at 179-6 at the finish.

The away side were more than capable of eclipsing that total in the chase and it seemed likely when Dean Barlow fired four fours and two sixes on his way to 61.

Paddy Martin also made 50 as the two top-scorers put on a 115-run stand for the fifth wicket.

At that point it appeared to be a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ but the 2014 champions suffered an uncharacteristic collapse.

Once Barlow went, and Martin closely followed, nobody in Lowerhouse’s tail end did anywhere near enough to finish what was surely a formality.

They crumbled from 140-4 to 168-9 after 50 overs, gifting Todmorden an 11-run triumph.