Lowerhouse in fine fettle but league leaders show no sign of slipping up

Ben Heap
Ben Heap
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Lowerhouse are sticking to their side of the bargain in their pursuit of leaders Walsden but the Lancashire League newcomers are showing no signs of slipping up.

With both sides in impeccable form the title race looks destined to go right down to the wire but it’s still well in the hands of the current table toppers.

The West Enders aren’t quite within striking distance of their rivals with just four games of the campaign remaining, 16 points adrift to be exact, yet they’ve only lost twice all term.

Skipper Ben Heap kept them on track with an unbeaten 109 to guide ‘House to an eight wicket win over Rawtenstall at the Worswick Memorial Ground.

The 30-year-old hit 14 fours and three sixes, adding 47 for the opening wicket with the club’s former captain Charlie Cottam (20).

Heap then partnered title-winning professional Francois Haasbroek for the third wicket with the pair finishing unbroken on 132 as the visitors got over the line in the 35th over. The South African all-rounder culminated the innings on 36 not out.

Earlier, stand-in skipper Andrew Payne had top scored with 68 in Rawtenstall’s 173-7. Rizwan Shafiq also hit 25 with sub professional George Harding taking 3-50 for the visitors.

Lowerhouse successfully jumped a place the following day, usurping Ramsbottom in second spot, but their seven wicket win over Rochdale at The Brooks Foundation Ground still wasn’t enough to put a dent in Walsden’s lead.

Haasbroek (3-18), Joe Hawke (2-8) and Toxy Hussain (2-9) combined to dismiss Rochdale for 50 in 18 overs in a 20 over a-side game.

Steve Oddy (2-20) removed sub professional Karl Brown (10) and Heap (1) while captain Michael Harling accounted for Haasbroek (11).

But Cottam finished unbeaten on eight alongside Paddy Martin (11 not out) to take Lowerhouse to victory in the 15th over.

Meanwhile, Cole Hayman took 5-50 to help Burnley to a 17 run win over Norden at the MyProtein Turf Moor.

Chris Holt also took 3-31 to dismiss Norden for 126. Dan Buckley made 42 and professional Jake Sandham 36 for the visitors.

Qasim Shah top scored with 35 in Burnley’s 143 all out. Professional Asif Zakir hit eight and Chris Burton 20 with Greg Butterworth taking 4-31, skipper Hashum Malik 3-41 and Sandham 3-29.

Burnley’s game away at Littleborough was abandoned without play.