Record-breaking Lowerhouse skipper's pride
Lowerhouse captain Ben Heap feels proud and privileged to be having his name inscribed in the history books at Liverpool Road.
The 29-year-old, who made his first XI debut for the West Enders as a teenager, recorded the highest ever individual score for his club when making 175 in his side’s 79 run win against Great Harwood at the weekend.
The former Padiham professional, a two-time winner of both the Lancashire League and Worsley Cup, hit 18 fours and six sixes from 142 balls to surpass Tom Shutt’s unbeaten 173 at Haslingden in 1905.
After also helping ‘House to a club record 333-5 at the Brooks Foundation Ground, Heap said: “It’s definitely the stand out weekend of my career so far. It’s the best one bar winning leagues and Worsley Cup finals but on a personal note it’s the highlight of my amateur career.
“I’ve always seen myself as a decent amateur Lancashire League batsman. To be up there with some big names you’ve got to hit some big scores though. I’m pleased to finally be in the same category as some of those.
“It’s not really sunk in yet. I’ll have to sit down at some point and absorb it all. I’ve replayed bits of it back in my mind.
“It’s special. I’m so pleased to have my own little bit of history at the club. To beat a record that has been standing for so long has made me very happy. It’s something that I’ll look back on with a lot of pride.”
Heap doesn’t exactly do things by halves. In 320 competitive matches across league, Worsley Cup, LCB Knockout Cup and the Twenty20 he had never hit a ton.
However, on the weekend of his record-breaking display, the skipper reached that milestone twice.
Prior to his 175, the opening batsman fired an unbeaten 106 in the Blond Witch Group to secure a comprehensive nine-wicket win over Ramsbottom to get them off the mark in the limited overs competition.
After seeing out more than 60 overs that weekend, he said: “I was pretty pumped up on Friday. One or two people had started to write us off in the Twenty20. There had been a few moans and groans. I was determined to get a win.
“We were up against it halfway through, needing eight an over, but I knew we were capable of doing that. I am fairly difficult to stop when I get going and it happened twice in one weekend.
“I’d played that moment in my mind many times. I’ve always had this tag attached to me of being the ‘nearly man’. I’d never scored a century for Lowerhouse. It had just never happened for me before so it was nice to finally do it and put that to bed.”
Lowerhouse entertain East Lancashire in the fourth group game of the Twenty20 on Friday evening and travel to Bentgate to take on Haslingden in the league on Sunday.
“There’s a real buzz around the club at the moment,” said Heap. “Everything is dropping in to place. We’re still well involved in three competitions.”