Lowerhouse out to extend fine start

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Lowerhouse are one of three clubs with two wins from two in Division 1 of the Lancashire League, along with Ramsbottom and Crompton.

But skipper Ben Heap is taking nothing for granted when his side host Norden – who have lost both opening fixtures – at the Brooks Foundation Ground on Sunday.

The West Enders earned a big win at Darwen at the weekend, recovering from 85-7 to post 166-7, before bowling the hosts out for 113.

Joe Hawke took 5-25 and professional Ockert Erasmus 4-30 to see Lowerhouse home, after a vital unbroken eighth-wicket partnership of 81 between Francois Haasbroek (54) and Chris Bleazard (34).

Heap was pleased with what he saw, after calling for an improvement in the field last week: “It was much more of what we needed in terms of the performance after the week before.

“We were better in the field as I suggested we needed to be, and showed our strength in depth.

“We were under a lot of pressure at 85-7, but that’s what the squad is there for, we have runs all down the order, and I did feel it was a decent score on the board at tea. Not being disrespectful, but it wasn’t as good a track as it usually is at Darwen, it was a bit bare and patchy, and, in hindsight, if you lost a wicket, you could easily lose two or three pretty quickly.

“But we got a good partnership between Blez and Francois, and it was a game-changer.”

Lowerhouse defended their total well, as Heap added: “Everyone was economical, we put pressure on that amateurs, they lost a couple of wickets, and that put pressure on the pro, which is the aim in any game at this level.”

Lowerhouse now turn their attentions to Norden, who lost by 19 runs to Ramsbottom on Sunday.

Heap expects another stern examination: “Norden looked like they were well in the game against Rammy, and are probably kicking themselves that they didn’t win that one.

“But they have real quality, the opener Josh Tolley is a serious player, we have to try and get him early, and the pro Jake Sandham is a very good bowler.

“They look a nice, close-knit group and will want their first win.”

And Heap feels the competitive nature of both Divisions, even at this early stage, looks like vindicating the decision to split the league: “If you look at the results, teams are beating each other, and you can’t look at any fixture and think you just have to turn up.”