Worsley Cup wins 17 years apart — but Lowerhouse skipper Ben Heap and three others featured in both!

A total of 17 years separate Lowerhouse’s first and last Worsley Cup triumphs.
Ben HeapBen Heap
Ben Heap

The West Enders’ breakthrough in 2004 was the club’s very first piece of the pie in top tier Lancashire League competitions.

Ben Heap starred in both of those ties, and everything in-between, as he captained his side to a four-timer on Sunday.

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The 33-year-old isn’t the only representative to carry that particular baton, either.

Lowerhouse CC captain Ben HeapLowerhouse CC captain Ben Heap
Lowerhouse CC captain Ben Heap

Chris Bleazard, ex-skipper Charlie Cottam and Jonathan Finch have also been involved in those successes.

“The first one feels like a lifetime ago,” said Heap, who was a teenager when Haslingden were beaten.

“All four of us are very proud of the fact that we’re still going and still contributing.

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“To have been involved in all four cup wins is fantastic. When you look at the history, with the club going more than 100 years without silverware, we’ve done well.

“It’s nice to go down in the club’s history. Hopefully members, spectators and players of the future will look back on this generation with great fondness.”

Heap, who steered Lowerhouse to victory over Burnley in the finale in 2018, was delighted to add further decoration to his tenure.

The former Padiham professional confessed that this particular prize was the most emotive one to date in light of the pandemic.

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“It feels even better, especially as captain,” he said. “Winning trophies is everything when you’re in charge.

“That’s what I’m judged on. There were very emotional scenes on Sunday. We’ve all been through so much over the past 18 months.

“Losing an entire season of cricket was hurtful so to finally get back out and win the Worsley Cup meant a lot.”

Heap and Jonny Whitehead had laid the foundations for sub professional Ruhan Pretorius’ game-changing knock against Clitheroe.

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The captain survived 101 balls when making 67 with his team-mate adding 44 as the pair put on 123 for the second wicket.

The South African then swung the pendulum fully in the away side’s favour at Chatburn Road when hitting a 45-ball 79.

The 30-year-old, who fired six fours and as many sixes in an unbeaten innings, partnered Bleazard (14 not out) to the finish as the pair clocked up 84 runs together.

“It was a fantastic day,” said Heap. “Clitheroe did a great job of staging a brilliant final. It was well-organised with a great crowd and a fantastic atmosphere.

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“We played really well and got ourselves into a fantastic position at the halfway stage.

“Myself and Jonny [Whitehead] laid the foundations and then the pro did exactly what we needed him to do at the time.

“He put us into a position where we were favourites at half-time and I was confident that we had done enough.”

Hat-trick hero Francois Haasbroek then closed with figures of 6-35 for the visitors, who defended their 254-6 finish by a margin of 67 runs in the Ribble Valley.

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“We didn’t even realise until later that he’d landed the hat-trick,” conceded Heap. “We’d all got swept up in the moment.

“He was a clear man of the match for me and I’m pleased for him because he’s been itching to do something like that on a stage like this for a while now.”

The wicket of Cole Hayman marked the milestone after Stuart Lemon and Kyle O’Connor had previously fallen victim.

Heap concluded: He’ll admit himself that he hadn’t bowled as well as he would have liked in his first spell.

“But the way he came back was magnificent!”