‘We will be a force to be reckoned with’ – Heap

Cricket action from the LCB Knockout Cup quarter-final between Lowerhouse and Burnley.'Ben Heap for Lowerhouse keeps on top of a tricky delivery.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'24-7-2016
Cricket action from the LCB Knockout Cup quarter-final between Lowerhouse and Burnley.'Ben Heap for Lowerhouse keeps on top of a tricky delivery. PIC BY ROB LOCK'24-7-2016
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Ben Heap predicts that Lowerhouse will be a force to be reckoned with in the Lancashire League this season.

The West Enders got off to the best possible start, and that owed a lot to their captain’s brilliance on the day, as his knock of 144 proved too much for newcomers Milnrow.

“It was nice to get off to a good start and get our confidence up straight away,” he said. “It gives us huge confidence all around.

“I just want to be consistent for the team. Clubs that go on to do well and win things tend to have two of the top three batsmen who consistently score big runs.

“I did well last season but there was room for improvement. When I get in and get set I need to kick on for the team.

“I need to try and get us in a winning position if we’re in first, or I need to try and be there at the end if we’re chasing.

“I need to be positive. Last season I didn’t really set the tone when we were chasing big totals. I need to put that right.”

Heap was the stand out performer at Liverpool Road on the opening weekend, but the 29-year-old acknowledges he’s not the only match winner in the side.

The club has retraced its steps in a bid to recreate history, recruiting individuals that have tasted success on numerous occasions in the past.

Former paid man Francois Haasbroek will pull on the whites as an amateur while Jon Finch and Joey Hawke have both pledged their allegiance.

The South African all-rounder was a vital cog in the title triumph in 2011 and the league and cup double the following year.

In those two seasons he recorded 1,170 league runs, adding 128 wickets. One-time Seedhill star Finch has been involved in the previous three championship-winning sides, totalling 859 runs and 107 wickets.

And Hawke helped ‘House complete the double in 2012 when contributing 95 runs and 47 wickets, and went on to register 473 runs and 34 wickets in 2014.

“Jon Finch is back this weekend and he will settle in to the top six or seven,” said the captain. “He’s another quality all-rounder and another powerful, aggressive top order batsman.

“We are in a really good place. There’s really good morale and the camaraderie at the weekend was fantastic. Everyone knows their roles.

“We’ve got a very powerful batting line-up. We don’t rely on each other, we won’t pass responsibility to someone else, we all want to be the one to get the big scores. It helps if everyone is in that frame of mind.

“We are quietly confident but we only play each other once so it won’t be plain sailing. It’s a bit of a lottery so the best team won’t necessarily win the league.

“We will be a force to be reckoned with though.”

Lowerhouse welcome Walsden to their home on David Wren Way on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Padiham could be up against it in the club’s bid to mark the 10-year anniversary of their last Ramsbottom Cup win with further success in the competition.

Phil Haggerty’s side have been drawn in Group Three with holders Whalley, 2015 champions Oswaldtwistle Immanuel and Ribblesdale Wanderers, who have lifted the trophy three times in the last seven seasons.

The Arbories outfit, who beat Feniscowles by seven wickets in their first game since securing promotion, kick off their campaign at New Lane on Saturday.

Meanwhile Read, who endured a six-wicket reversal against Ribblesdale Wanderers at Church Meadow on the opening weekend, will host Earby in the cup at Whalley Road.

The club will share Group Two with Barnoldswick and Baxenden, who meet at Victory Park in the other tie. Wickets will be pitched at 1 p.m.