Lowerhouse dropped to third in the Fosters Lancashire Cricket League table following a three wicket defeat to Rishton at Blackburn Road.
After the weather’s interference had cost the West Enders almost certain victory in their two previous fixtures, this wasn’t the remedy they were hoping for in the chase for second spot.
Lowerhouse were inserted in conditions that suited swing bowling. Although the bowlers’ control of line and length wasn’t great they still had ‘House reeling at 24-4. Fergus Bailey (13) helped Jonny Whitehead, who had survived the carnage, to take the score to 82. Whitehead made another fine half-century but it was once again the very much in-form veteran Chris Bleazard who played his team’s big innings.
After Whitehead was caught at long-on for 52, Lowerhouse slumped to 142-9 but finally in Paddy Martin (11 not out), the seasoned Liverpool Road amateur found a worthy partner, and at the close the visitors were 186-9 with Bleazard climbing to an unbeaten 66.
Although that looked competitive Rishton’s top heavy batting order got off to a flier. They put on 95 for the first wicket in good time when professional Daniel Salpietro fell for a sucker punch, hitting a full toss to mid-wicket, and was out for 45. Joe Beneduce (2-13) and paid man Francois Haasbroek (3-56) chipped away as Rishton became nervy but Lowerhouse were never better than second favourites. The home side crossed the finishing line with three wickets and two balls to spare, handing Lowerhouse another tough loss.
On Sunday, Lowerhouse travel to Accrington.
Meanwhile, two of the form teams in the league came together at West End as Burnley travelled to Church.
And it was the home side who prevailed, with the game going down to the last over before Phill Gilrane hit a six to earn a two-wicket win.
He finished on 31 not out, after putting on a match-winning partnership of 48 with Andy Bentley (13 not out) after Burnley had reduced the hosts to 138-8, chasing their 180 all out.
Burnley themselves had a ninth-wicket partnership to thank for setting a competitive total, as Cole Hayman and Steve Brunt put on 63, after being 112-8, with Church professional Kasun Bodhisha the pick of the bowlers with 4-36, while Lloyd Aspin also claimed 3-45.
Brunt top-scored with 44, while Qasim Ali made 37 and Hayman 25.
In reply, Graham Lalor removed Bodhisha for a duck, but Levi Wolfenden (28) and Lloyd Aspin shared 80, with Aspin crashing 64 from just 66 deliveries, including seven fours and two sixes.
Burnley captain Bharat Tripathi took 4-38 to give his side a fighting chance as six wickets fell for just 22 runs, but Gilrane and Bentley had the final say.
Burnley are at home to Ramsbottom on Sunday.