Lowerhouse have trophy haul in sight after derby win over rivals

Ben Heap for Lowerhouse in their game against Burnley
Ben Heap for Lowerhouse in their game against Burnley

Historical misfortune and submissiveness in the derby has led Lowerhouse chairman Stan Heaton to fully appreciate the club’s dominance.

The West Enders made it three wins from three fixtures against their rivals with a 110-run triumph at the Neville Gee (Recruitment) Ground at the weekend which retained their status as Lancashire League leaders.

“I very much enjoyed it,” Heaton said. “It is only another game but I do get an extra thrill when we beat Burnley. When I first started out we used to get beat by Burnley regularly. I’ve been on the end of numerous beatings in the derby so I enjoy it now.”

Victory will surely be savoured, but the club was dealt a sour after-taste with news that ‘House protege Jack Edgar had left the club. The 18-year-old, who made his senior debut in the derby versus Burnley just over two years ago, has bolstered Great Harwood’s bid to usurp Clitheroe as Ribblesdale Cricket League champions.

“Beating Burnley was very pleasing but it was tinged slightly with Jack Edgar leaving,” Heaton said. “I think that’s in our thoughts as much as the success at weekend.

“He felt his progress may have been limited here due to the strength of our squad. He was left out at weekend and thought he would have a better opportunity elsewhere. He was a good club person so it’s a great shame we couldn’t give him what he needed or wanted.”

Another weekend of opportunity lies in waiting for Charlie Cottam’s side, with a Twenty20 fixture against Todmorden on home soil tonight which will be followed by a trip to Bentgate to face Haslingden tomorrow before Bacup travel to Liverpool Road on Sunday.

“We’ve got to win the majority of our remaining fixtures now,” Heaton said. “We’ve certainly got to beat our rivals as well and Haslingden are definitely one of those. Bacup won’t be challenging in the league but we can’t take them lightly. We’ve got two games and they’ve both got to be won.

“There’s the Twenty20 as well in which we’re hoping to progress by beating Todmorden convincingly. We are challenging on three fronts so you can’t ask for any more.

“It keeps things interesting and competitive, it keeps the players on their toes and it keeps the spectators buoyant. We’re on the crest of a wave and we’re enjoying it.”

Meanwhile, Burnley skipper Bharat Tripathi believes that dwelling on recent failures will only hinder the club’s chances of developing on the field.

The 24-year-old was magnanimous in yet another defeat to Lowerhouse, but refused to let the loss plague his memory. Instead, the Turf Moor captain is looking ahead to games against Ramsbottom at home tomorrow and Rawtenstall at the Worswick Memorial Ground 24 hours later.

“We were out-played so we can’t really complain about the result,” he said. “It’s certainly not what you want to happen in a derby game though. It’s just frustrating that we contributed to our own downfall.

“It’s disappointing to lose a derby but we’ve got to take heart from performances before that. We blew Todmorden out of the water twice in two days the previous weekend. It’s not all doom and gloom.

“At the moment there’s no shame in losing to Lowerhouse because they are in good form and top of the league. They were well worth the win so we have to erase that from the memory now and prepare for two difficult fixtures.”

Tripathi, whose side sit bottom of the division and eight points adrift of 13th place Bacup, added: “It’s a tough division. We’ve just played top of the league and now we’ve got Ramsbottom and Rawtenstall who are right up there so it’s not going to be easy.

“There’s no point in dwelling on past defeats. The double-header provides the opportunity to put things right. We have to go in to the weekend believing that we can win both games. I believe we are capable of that. We’re in a false position so we’ve got to remain confident.”