FOSTER’S Lancashire League leaders Lowerhouse are without key all rounder Joey Hawke as they look to stay out in front of the chasing pack tomorrow – but their production line of talent has led to a little piece of history as they head to Bacup.
Hawke plays in tonight’s Moorhouse’s Twenty20 semi-final at Nelson before jetting off on holiday and his spot in the team at Bacup goes to the youngsest player to appear for the House first team.
Joseph Halstead is the youngster taking the place in the side and at 14 years, eight months and 12 days he is slightly younger than Max Howells was when he first appeared for the House in 2007.
While the game at Bacup – who are capable of upsetting any of the leading lights on their day – is a big one for Lowerhouse as they aim to stay clear of Ramsbottom, chairman Stan Heaton doesn’t believe that picking QEGS pupil Halstead is a risk.
“This has been a great season of opportunity throughout the club,” said Heaton.
“At times we have had as many as 13 players unavailable for the seniors through injury, exams, and holidays and Declan Bailey and Ben Gorton have both come into the first team and acquitted themselves well but unfortunately they too have been hit by lengthy injuries.
“Four juniors, including Joseph, have debuted this season in the seconds and performed well and stayed in. Joseph has done very well and while there were other candidates from the seconds he fits the bill for what we need on Saturday.”
Lowerhouse head the table by just one point after Nelson frustrated them with a dogged rearguard action last Sunday and Ramsbottom are a threat to their hopes.
Rob Read’s men are in Blackburn for their game with East Lancashire at Alexandra Meadows and are determined to maintain their momentum with pro Darryn Smit one of the performers of the season.
Enfield are 16 points behind the leaders and pro Werner Coetsee has provisionally agreed to return to Dill Hall Lane for next season but they face a test of their mettle when they cross Hyndburn for a game with Church at West End.
They are at full strength for the game, while Church, who have slipped down to fifth in the last few weeks, are determined to recover from two straight losses.
Fouth-placed Haslingden welcome second from bottom Colne to Bentgate, while Accrington are in seventh spot but not out of the race yet, according to professional Ockert Erasmus.
The reigning champions are 34 points off the pace but the South African said: “There is a lot of cricket left and a lot of the top teams have to play each other.
“Things can change very quickly when there are 12 points available for a win.”
Burnley have won two on the spin to climb off the foot of the table and entertain Rawtenstall in a clash between two of Sunday’s Worsley Cup semi-finalists, while Nelson host Todmorden in what should be a fine game at Seedhill.