FRANCOIS Haasbroek shook off the chill of early April to ease reigning Lancashire League champions Lowerhouse to a friendly win over Ribblesdale Wanderers on Saturday – on a day when a host of clubs began their pre-season preparations in earnest.
The big South African, whose 700 runs and 75 wickets played a major part in the House marching to the title last term, top scored with 53 as Lowerhouse were 142 all out in 38 overs at Liverpool Road.
Joey Hawke also made 29 on his return to the Lowerhouse first team before Joe Benuduce (4-17) and Haasbroek (3-9) helped bowl Wanderers, who won the Ribbles-dale League’s Ramsbottom Cup last season, out for 99.
Lewis Bradley made 47 as Nelson posted 120-9 in their friendly at Morecambe – but the seasiders got home with six wickets down in the game at Woodhill Lane.
Colne won their derby with Craven League near neighbours Foulridge, posting 220 which was 120 too many for the village outfit.
Burnley beat Walsden at Turf Moor.
Skipper John Bushell claimed three wickets for Padiham but they were beaten by Read, whose 225 was 45 too many for the Arbories outfit.
Read professional Jordan Clarke looked good on his way to 84 on his debut for the Whalley Road outfit.
Ramsbottom lost a good game at Ormskirk. Alex Bell (30) Rob Read (25) Jon Fielding (21) got among the runs in a 156-9 total but Ormskirk won by three wickets in a good finish.
Rawtenstall tied their friendly at St Annes. A mixed team of first, second and third teamers took first knock on an icy day at Vernon Road and posted 212 all out with half centuries for Andrew Clough and Ross Brown.
St Annes needed six of the last over to win and then one from the final two deliveries. But Clough claimed a wicket and then sent down a dot ball to leave the game tied.
Haslingden won at Leigh CC after restricting them to 131 but Bacup were beaten by four wickets after Radcliffe knocked off their 161 with four wickets down at Lanehead.
Neil Cordingley hit 59 to lead Darwen to a four-wicket win over Westhoughton and Chorley eased to a 30-run win over Palace Shield big hitters Penwortham.
But the weather had its say yesterday with Rishton’s game with Salesbury and Chorley’s with Egerton both called off.
There are also games today with Cherry Tree’s local derby with East Lancashire a particular highlight. Ramsbottom entertain Burnley at Acre Bottom, Rishton welcome Blackrod to Blackburn Road and Todmorden go to St Annes.
n The rain wrecked the inaugural Surridge challenge trophy between Ribblesdale League winners Baxenden and Lancashire League top dogs Lowerhouse.
No play was possible at Back Lane and the trophy will now be contested in the summer.