Professional and skipper are stars of the West End

Ben Heap
Ben Heap
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While Lowerhouse staked their claim as one of the leading forces in the county, sharing the LCB Knockout trophy, the club’s professional and skipper combined to play a leading role in the Lancashire League.

South African all-rounder Ockert Erasmus, now with his third club in this division, finished the season as the most clinical batsman when just 15 runs short of reaching 1,000.

The 29-year-old, who has represented both Accrington and East Lancs in the past, posted his tally at an average of 57.9 which included an unbeaten high score of 104 and 10 half centuries.

Liverpool Road skipper Heap, who was Charlie Cottam’s successor, enjoyed his best ever season with the West Enders, culminating the term as the leading amateur with 739 runs at an average of 35.2.

Heap hit a ton and four half-centuries during the campaign, registering a club record 175 against Great Harwood which arrived just days after he became the first Lowerhouse player to score a century in the Twenty20 competition.

The captain scored 1,059 runs across all formats at an average of 33.1 from 33 innings with six half centuries and two triple figure sums.

Elsewhere, Burnley’s Chris Holt was among the list of paid men to pass 500 runs for the season as he totalled 604 at 35.5 which saw the Turf Moor rpo pass 3,000 runs in the process.

Team-mate Liam Bedford hit two centuries in his 681 runs at 40.1 in his first season for his new club.

Other batting milestones during the season included Lowerhouse’s Chris Bleazard passing 16,000 Lancashire League runs.

The Lancashire League stalwart, who eclipsed David Pearson’s record when tabling his 108th half-century, is still in pursuit of Mike Ingham’s career total of 17,177 runs.

Meanwhile, for the first time ever, no bowler took 50 wickets in the season. Holt went close when falling just four wickets short, the third best return in the league, while adding figures of 5-41.

Burnley’s Cole Hayman and Erasmus finished just outside the top 10 in taking 35 wickets apiece during the campaign.

Finally, Lowerhouse’s Joe Martin was second on the leaderboard for the league’s top wicketkeepers when claiming 27 victims (18 catches and nine stumpings) while Burnley’s Chris Burton secured eighth spot with 22 dismissals, made up of 15 catches and seven stumpings.

In the Ribblesdale Cricket League, Read professional Matthew Walker’s seasonal statistics have earned the all-rounder the tag of being the ‘most valuable player’.

The former Lowerhouse amateur has enjoyed a prolific maiden campaign at Whalley Road having posted the fifth highest total in the league’s history while adding the second best partnership since its formation, just five runs short of the record.

Walker found the boundary on 34 occasions when hitting 210 runs against Cherry Tree in May, including a 289 run stand for the third wicket alongside Ben Gorton.

The one-time West Ender finished head and shoulders above his rivals with a total of 846 runs at an average of 52.88. Those numbers, which were 177 more than Cherry Tree’s Ralph Bogogo, included 95 fours and 35 sixes as well as four centuries.

And that artistry wasn’t limited to his batting ability as Walker impressed with the ball too, ending the season as the joint leading wicket taker.

The paid man matched Brady Barends’ performance in taking 51 wickets over the course of the term but conceded 126 more runs than the South African.

Barends earned himself an extended contract at the Arbories after pitching in heavily towards the club’s return to the top flight.

On top of his wicket haul, which included figures of 6/27, the professional chipped in with 528 runs to push Padiham towards promotion.

The 28-year-old, who was rated the second most valuable player in the league, hit a high score of 98 this term and found the boundary 71 times.

Finally, Read pair Gorton and Kyle O’Connor did enough to inscribe their names on to the leaderboard.

Gorton was ninth in the batting rankings after ending the 2017 term just one run short of 500. He amassed 58 boundaries and a high score of 104.

The club’s former skipper O’Connor, succeeded by Phil Haggerty, featured in the final copy of the fielding charts, sitting in sixth position having taken 17 catches and executing one stumping.