Title bid hit as Burnley beat Lowerhouse

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LOWERHOUSE endured a bad day at the office losing their derby at Burnley on Sunday by 70 runs - but they still lead the Lancashire League by 10 points going into the final weekend’s double header.

It is difficult to remember a more one-sided contest in Burnley’s favour in the last 20 years and it is hard to fathom the level of performance by the Lowerhouse side, though, perhaps the initial overs in each innings highlighted the difference between the two sides on the day.

Burnley won the toss and batted with Stephen Brunt and Chris Burton having little trouble against the opening bowlers Francois Haasbroek and Fergus Bailey, scoring at nearly four runs per over and setting up the Burnley innings on a hard but greentopped wicket.

The home side took the attack to the visitors and were 48 before the first wicket fell in the 15th over when Brunt was adjudged lbw for 23 off Joe Hawke.

This brought a succession of wickets to fall as fellow opener Burton (23), Qasim Ali and professional Adnan Rasool all fell to leave the home side 59-5.

The arrival of Jonathan Finch and Hawke to the bowling attack had an effect with Lowerhouse taking four wickets for 11 runs as well as slowing the scoring rate considerably.

Then Burnley consolidated, with skipper Bharat Tripathi (12) and Paul Mortimer (24) putting on a crucial 37 to push the score over 100.

Late order hitting from Michael Kelly (16) pushed the score to a competitive 130 all out.

Finch finished with 6-49 and Hawke 4-33 to reached the tea interval with both teams probably confident of victory.

Lowerhouse replied, and the first few overs determined the winners of the game as Ben Heap was lbw to the first delivery of the innings from Graham Lalor, and Joe Martin followed soon afterwards.

Johnny Whitehead fought hard but could never master Lalor and Adnan Rasool, who both bowled well.

Lowerhouse continued to struggle allowing the bowlers to dominate.

Haasbroek was bowled off a no-ball for 0 and the dismissals of Finch and Hawke for ducks added to the woe.

Chris Bleazard and Charlie Cottam gave the team a semblance of hope but the tail didn’t last long with the final three wickets falling for the addition of six runs as Burnley deservedly won the game.

Lalor ended with 3-19 off 15 overs, and conceded 11 of these off the last two overs.

Professional Rasool ended withan impressive analysis of 4-30 off 21 overs, and the impressive Cole Hayman cleaned up the tail with 3-11 off six overs.

Lowerhouse enter the final weekend of the season leading the table by 10 points and are still favourites to retain the championship, but they will have to play much better against Nelson and Ramsbottom.

The day before Lowerhouse won their game in hand to return to the top of the league.

Lowerhouse won by eight wickets against Bacup in a one-sided game that was never a serious contest once Hawke had blown away the Bacup middle order.

Lowerhouse had won the toss and decided to field, and soon had Bacup 2-1 when Bleazard took a terrific catch off Fergus Bailey’s bowling.

Wickets fell at regular intervals and only a brief stand between Henry Butcher and Matt Thompson made the final score remotely challenging. Hawke finished with 5-28, the other wickets shared by Haasbroek, Bailey and youngster Jack Edgar, who at 16 claimed his first Lancashire League wicket in the form of Bacup professional Michael Price.

Lowerhouse lost an early wicket with the careless run out of Johnny Whitehead after a misunderstanding with fellow opener Heap.

However, Heap, Joe Martin and Haasbroek batted sensibly to stroll to the maximum 12 points with 28 overs to spare.

Burnley, meanwhile, fielded first against Haslingden and conceded 125-9 off 50 overs, with Rasool once again impressing with 4-61 off 25 overs, taking him to 89 wickets so far this year.

Hayman again took three wickets and Tripathi ended with 2-24 off seven.

What was thought to be a below par score soon became enough as the home side fell to 15-3.

Only Ali (21) and Mortimer (10) got into double figures but the last seven wickets fell for nine runs as the lower middle order subsided to finish 53 all out.

Burnley complete their fixtures with visits to Colne on Saturday Accrington on Sunday.