The future’s looking bright at East Lancs

East Lancashire Second XI who won the Lancashire Telegraph Lancashire League Second XI Cup final

East Lancashire Second XI who won the Lancashire Telegraph Lancashire League Second XI Cup final

First published in Sport Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

IN the year East Lancashire look back and celebrate its 150th anniversary, the club’s talented young Second XI showed the future also looks bright.

The Alexandra Meadows club has arranged a series of events to mark the special occasion - now they have the Lancashire Telegraph Lancashire League Second XI Cup to show off.

The team, with a smattering of experienced ‘old heads’ - including captain Siraj Bhada and Dave Turner - is built largely around a talented group of young teenagers.

And club chairman Mark Lomas is hopeful they will go on and be the cornerstone of the First XI for many years to come.

“We are delight to win a trophy in our 150th year but more importantly this was the fruition of three or four years of hard work within our junior section,” said Lomas.

“We have tried to copy the Lowerhouse model who have had a hugely successful junior section over the years and it is now beginning to pay dividends.

“There were a few old heads in the team but the Seconds is largely made up of players aged between 14 and 16-years-old.”

It was a near faultless display and batting and bowling that guided East Lancs to victory and condemned Ramsbottom to defeat.

The top order all contributed with the bat while the bowlers ripped in to Ramsbottom’s battling attack - the first three all going for ducks - then broke up what could have been a match-winning partnership.

“What was pleasing about the victory was the everyone did there bit,” added Lomas. “There was no one player who stood out. The runs and the wickets were shared out.”

Batting first, Mo Bhada and Danny Lord gave East Lancs a steady start before Lord fell to Jonathan Lees for 17. But young James Westhead came in and carried on where Lord left off.

The talented teen made 36 before he was bowled by Matthew Sutton.

But there was never to be a wobble in the East Lancs batting display as they didn’t give Ramsbottom a hint of any impeding collapse.

Bhada (39), Sohail Mohammed and Nial Boyle (20) all racked up the runs before Turner used all his experience to turn a healthy total in to a daunting one with a knock of 46 as East Lancs closed on 222-9.

Ramsbottom needed a steady if not spectacular start if they were to get anywhere near their target - instead they a dramatic slump.

Turner, Olpin and Booth all went for ducks with the extras the only thing troubling the scoreboard in the opening overs.

Sutton and Brad Fielding, son of Jonathan Fielding, steadied the ship and put up a brave fight. But when Sutton was caught by Adam Bolton off Turner for 30 and Fielding fell for 33, caught by Mohammed off Lord, Rammy’s hopes of victory were gone.

Lord ripped out the middle order, claiming Marsden, Fearnley and Lees before Max Wynn Jones bowled Bailey for nought as Ramsbottom were dismissed for 176.

East Lancs still have a chance of adding the the Second XI League title as well and Lomas is hoping to see this crop of players break in to the first team ranks.

“In recent years we have struggled to get players to come up through the ranks and hold on to a regular place in the First team,” he said. “But we are pleased to see that we know have some very talented young players who are capable of doing that.”

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