When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
It’s a House party as Church lose sixth final
LOWERHOUSE got their hands on the Foster’s Worsley Cup last night as they heaped more final heartbreak on Church.
The reigning Lancashire League champions are chasing a double – and they claimed the first part with their success at a lively West End.
While the House partied hard, there was pain for perfect hosts Church, who have now lost their last six finals in all competitions.
Sometimes life just isn’t fair – and while no-one could doubt the validity of Lowerhouse’s win it would take a heart of granite not to feel for the West Enders.
No-one deserves a record like that.
Lowerhouse opted to take first knock on a green track and openers Ben Heap and Jonny Whitehead got off to a measured start in the face of excellent opening spells from both Lloyd Aspin and Andrew Bentley.
The two sides had met in the league just seven days before the final and while Lowerhouse won that one, Church piled the pressure on from the start.
But Whitehead was just starting to cut loose with the score on 58 when he was trapped bang in front by Bentley for 21.
That brought Jonathan Finch to the middle but the all-rounder was brilliantly stumped by Sam Tucker off Bentley to spark wild celebrations.
A 40-minute delay for rain raised the volume from the crowd and when Joey Hawke was fantastically caught in the deep after the resumption, the House could have rocked. Hawke was looking to get the scoreboard ticking over when he launched Gilrane towards the dressing rooms only to look on in amazement as Bentley tore around from long on to hold a stunning catch on the edge.
Any wobble, though, was negated by professional Francois Haasbroek, who – despite appearing to be struggling with a back injury that had required treatment in the week – looked to be in good nick.
He had to play second fiddle to Heap, who batted beautifully for his 75 before being caught on the edge by Adam Greenwood with the score on 153.
Chris Bleazard came and went while Haasbroek had made a patient 26 before he was run out going for a second run.
Matt Walker was then run out from the next ball and Joe Beneduce also went for a duck as Lowerhouse’s hopes of a 220-plus score receded.
But skipper Charlie Cottam added 11 and Joe Martin’s unbeaten 17 at the end gave the House the impetus to close on 192-9.
Church often turn to Levi Wolfenden for inspiration – but he was bowled by the bouncing Hawke.
Church were on the back foot and when Aspin was run out they were wobbling on 27-3 with dreams of a win seeming distant.
Skipper Craig Fergusson, who had earlier spilled two catches in the field, joined Saeed Anwar in the middle.
They found the going hard in the face of accurate Lowerhouse bowling but they managed to take the score on to 74 in the 28th over before Fergusson was caught.
Mohammad Jamal then went quickly as he lobbed a return catch back to Haasbroek.
Anwar was very much the key as Church needed 110 from 18 overs with five wickets left and he survived numerous vocal appeals – from the terraces as much as from the players – as he tried to turn the game in his side’s favour.
And when he rocked back and pulled Hawke into Accrington Golf Club, there were signs he was about to cut loose.
Greenwood was also in the mood and had reached 27 when Haasbroek struck, removing him thanks to a splendid diving catch in the deep from Finch.
Church needed 44 from the last six overs. They needed 24 from three – and Finch struck the hammer blow by bowling Anwar.
The Pakistani star departed for 70 – and so did Church hopes.
Mark Gilrane went to Finch’s next ball and the party was starting. Bentley holed out to Haasbroek with Finch and it was all over a ball later with Church 176 all out.
Lowerhouse celebrated, the home side were sick. It was cruel.