Stan’s Chairmans Column – Brits Pub & Xercise4Less

Changing Room Fund Donors

Due to circumstances beyond the club’s control we have been unable to fulfil our pledge to display the names of those who donated to the changing room fund. We are now in a position to make progress but as a failsafe could I ask anyone who donated after September 2014 to contact me. Similarly anyone wishing to ensure that their name is on the list, may also contact me. Stan 07941439741

Kevin Higgins and a special mention for our friends in the U.S.A.

Kevin was given a magnificent send off with an overflowing attendance at the committal and a full clubhouse. The wake saw a splendid gathering of family, friends and cricket colleagues. Although this was a very sad occasion we all left, feeling uplifted by the camaraderie on show. I think Kevin would have been in his element and no doubt would have been proud of those who lasted the 12 hours from the crematorium to last orders.

As are aware, Kevin’s sons Stuart and Shane were players at the club until they emigrated to Minneapolis, where they run a very successful Brits bar. Unbeknown to the boys Joe and Gene at the bar had been in liaison with the club and this culminated in a somewhat astonishing donation of over £1,000 to the club. The club have commissioned a bench plaque in memory of Kevin from Brits bar and are looking at another commemorative option. The plaque has been affixed to the bench Kevin and Anne were last sat on last summer.

Many thanks to Brits bar for their generous donation.


Many thanks to Paul Shufflebottom for getting the ball sponsorship off to a flyer with the sponsorship of a couple of balls from his 100 club winnings.

Thanks to Xercise4less who have entered into a sponsorship agreement with the club which will include the under 17s becoming LHCC Xercise4less U17s and giving players access to their facilities.

Tony Dodemaide gets in touch!

On the back of the 1986 photo posted yesterday, then professional Tony Dodemaide commented on Twitter. He wrote the attached.

Stan has had his say on the matter:

Tony was a wonderful player and a really pleasant lad. His bowling action was a delight to watch. One of my abiding memories was come the last match of the 1986 season at Ramsbottom , Tony needed 8 wickets for his 100 . In Tony’s first two overs we dropped 3 slip catches — as Brian Holmes later advised ” bowl at the sticks , you won’t need slips ” Although we won the game Tony only took 2 wickets and fell 6 short of his 100, largely due to the dropped slip catches no doubt.

The late Phil Astin scored 98 in the same game.

The following season Tony signed for East Lancs and we lined up against them first game of the season. I can only think that Tony’s rising talent as a cricketer had priced us out. There were certainly no hard feelings. Wrenners thought the world of Tony, and rightly so.Tony was run out by yours truly going for a two. I had spent the whole of the 1986 season preparing for this moment . Week after week I conned Tony into thinking that I was a sluggish fielder with a weak throw. Ha – fell right into the trap. Tony hit it into the extra cover region and I sprinted after it, turned and threw in one sleek moment right over the stumps  Higgy took the bails off and Tony was run out by 4 yards. Higgy tried to cheer Tony up with a “you don’t know how unlucky you have been ” but I knew it was a plan come together.

Tony was a true gent. 15 years later when Tony was the managing director or similar high ranking officer at the MCC I wrote to him asking for a grant towards machinery repairs. We were penniless at the time with not a single adequate working item of machinery. A couple of weeks later we received a cheque for £1700 pounds signed by Roger Knight, ex England, and chairman or similar of the MCC. That was an enormous help. The roller, wicket mower and outfield cutter were repaired and a reserve wicket mower purchased . We were up and running in terms of improving the pitch.

Obviously I thanked Tony at the time but looking back makes me realise how important this help was – and after all we had done to him. Thanks again Tony 

1960 – Minhas Returns

Another find from the Burnley Express dug out by Anne Cochrane, a piece when Jim Minhas returned to the club to join a player’s reunion in 1960

1962 – New Pavillion

A great Burnley Express cut out found by Anne Cochrane of the new Pavillion being opened in 1962, mentioning Jack Hayes and Ken Smalley.

1987 – Squad Photo

None other than new Pro Ocki had been reading up on his new club and has come across this gem. The 1987 team. Can you name them all? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook.

Charity Night: A Musical Tribute to the 60s

A Musical Tribute to the 60s featuring Mike Quinn formerly of “Freddie & The Dreamers”

Tickets £5

Friday 31st March 7.30pm till late down at the club.

All proceeds go to the Church Queens Fund & Pendleside Hospice.

Contact Michelle on 07879241105 for more info.

An interview with Ben – 2017 preview

After catching up with the new pro Ocki on Friday (read more here), Paul also had a few questions for the incoming skipper Ben Heap.

Hi Ben.  Whilst you’ve captained Lowerhouse on occasions, this will be your first stint as full time skipper. When was the last time you captained a side for a full summer?  

It’s been a long time since I’ve captained a side for a full summer. I was under 17’s LHCC captain in a very successful junior side. Also I was captain of the under 16’s North East Lancashire Festival squad in my final year with that side. A very talented one at that with both Tripathi’s, John Simpson, Neil Thompson and one or two others. 

 You could say though that being a club professional is also similar to being captain so my season at Padiham should have a bit of relevance but not all decisions were mine of course. 

I think your famous Uncle shied away from captaincy but I suspect you’ll relish it. Am I right?  

Yes that’s right, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for some time now. I’m looking forward to the season and I feel a sense of calmness now I have my chance to be captain. 

You’re known as being not shy about having a bit of banter with the opposition. Will that change in any way now you’re in charge? and do you have a line between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour?    

I think it will change slightly, I think some people will be surprised. I’ll never shy away from a word or two but my main focus is on winning the game.

 There is definitely a line and I in the past have probably over stepped it in terms of opposition players, but more often than not in retaliation to something else. I will always have that edge to me. Sticking up for each other as a team is something I’m a big believer in, whether they are in the right or wrong = that can be dealt with after the game. 

I think you’re very much your own man but you’ll have an experienced pro’ and senior players around you. How much do you see yourself leaning on others until you’re settled in the new role?    

No doubt I will go to others for advice or a different opinion quite often, it keeps the mind healthy having people thinking differently to yourself. But I’m confident in my self and the experienced guys are clever enough to know how to voice there ideas in the right way and do things through me. So that will allow me to make the final call and I’ll be able to look at my self in the mirror and move on if I should get a decision wrong. 

If Ladbrokes ran a book on the top amateur batter for Lowerhouse in 2017, you’d be the hot favourite. Do you think the cares of captaincy could affect your batting form in any way?  

No, not at all. whenever I’ve been in charge before I’ve always done ok. So I think it will bring out the best in me.

The ‘House will be competing in 4 competitions in a busy summer of cricket. The League, the Worsley Cup, T-20 , and the Lancashire Cup. Will you have priorities or going all out in each competition?           

The league is always the priority to me and I think it’s the same for most sides. The other three are equally as important and I’ll be looking to compete in all of them. 

Lowerhouse have been fortunate to pick up some very decent recruits in the off-season. There should be good competition for places. Where do you stand on the preference of a settled team or rotation based on current form?  

Myself and Joe Beneduce who is our 1st XI selector will look to pick the strongest team for each individual game. Balance of the side will be key because as you say we’ve signed a couple and on paper it looks strong. We may take some time to gel under a new regime as well so I ask for patience from fans and spectators. 

Do you think Lowerhouse have to win a minimum of one trophy for the season to be regarded as a success?    

One trophy would be a success absolutely. We’re a new squad and it may take some time for people (not just new signings) to get used to there new roles. We are looking to build and improve as a squad at training looking forward to the next five years or so, the new signings are not just a short term fix. 

I must admit I was looking forward to you and Bharrat Tripathi competing as rival skippers. That won’t happen now but are you especially looking forward to the ‘derby’ games against a strong Burnley side.       

Always look forward to the Burnley games, they’ve had the upper hand the last two seasons or so. So be nice to try and take the 12 points of them more than anything else. 

Your first season as skipper coincides with the start of the Lancashire League reform plan. Are you in favour of where the League wants to go with their plans?   

Yes definitely! No disrespect to anyone but having dead rubbers in June can’t be good for need some competition for the whole season. Pride is always at stake of course. But if relegation / promotion is a threat then that means players are more committed (I think) and brings in more excitement for spectators. 

Finally Ben I told Ocki that I had a bee in my bonnet about the rules regarding bad weather. I gather that he doesn’t like them either. He says rightly that they can give a big advantage to the team batting second. At other times a team batting second pacing themselves to an easy win can get caught out as we almost were versus Colne last season. Do you have any strong feelings on the rules as they stand. 

Yes I agree , it’s not ideal and needs looking at. Who what where and when though I’ve no idea. We as a committee want Duckworth Lewis. 

Thanks again to Paul for posing the great questions and Ben for taking time to answer them. 


LHCC Supporters Abroad – Ernie Whittaker from Australia

Ernie is in Australia and has written to Stan whilst out there. Stan thought it would be good to share.

Currently in Australia for my annual visit to my former home I had hoped to see my Sydney team,  St George in action this weekend but alas all fixtures have been cancelled due to extreme weather conditions. Sydney is experiencing extraordinary weather conditions at the moment as we struggle through the hottest Summer on record. The weather for tomorrow, Saturday is forecast to be 108 degrees. That is 42 Celsius fòr those who prefer that system. The Sun is expected to be fierce. As a result the NSW Cricket Association has cancelled all games as a precaution. This is the first time I have ever heard of a full programme of cricket being cancelled due to hot, sunny conditions. The only other time I have heard of sun stopping play is occasionally in Brisbane. There,  they do not forward their clocks one hour in Summer with the result that it is totally dark just after 7pm. As international rules have the current close of play at 6pm the setting sun in Brisbane sometimes shines in batsmen’s eyes thus causing the umpires to call stumps early.

An interview with Ocki – 2017 Season Preview

With the 2017 season dragging its heels and seeming like it will never come around (although it’s sneaking up on us!), we asked the Lowerhouse “Royal Correspondent” Paul Hargreaves to pose a few questions to our new 2017 professional Ocki. Paul gratefully asked some really meaningful questions and Ocki fired back with some really good answers. Below is what Ocki had to say! Roll on the season:

Tell us a bit about your personal and cricket background when growing up in South Africa?      

Basically I’d been born next to the sports field, both Mom and Dad played sport and that’s where the love for sport came from. Cricket started taking preference in my University days, when I started playing for the Boland senior side. After University I started playing for Brackenfell Cricket Club (International Umpire Marais Erasmus, played his cricket there) when not playing for Boland. During the English summer of 2011 I joined the Lancashire League. Since then I have played at two clubs in the league for three years each (East Lancashire CC and Accrington CC) and the 2017 season will see my playing for the “House”.

You’re not at Boland now and spending more time in England but are you able to get back to South Africa over the English winter and if so are you able to play any Club cricket to keep your eye in?  

Since moving over to the UK in 2015, we have only been home once and that was in December for a month. Whilst we were there I was lucky to train with Boland and Brackenfell CC. We were meant to play one game, but unlike SA the game rained out due to no covers being on the pitch the night before. It’s not like over here when we play in the rain… I have been fortunate to make friends in the UK that train over the winter and we have been netting on a regular basis.

Many of the Lowerhouse players do a bit of amateur boxing so we can take it on the chin, so please be candid. What were your thoughts on Lowerhouse as a team in your many encounters against them?    

I loved the pre-season boxing with the guys to be honest.  As I haven’t really done it before Charlie and Ben gave me a few tips and I ended up enjoying it a lot! To be fair I got a bit excited at times especially the short “sparring” sessions with Blez in the ring…

As for the team… we have had our fair share of words over the seasons, but we have always got on well after the games and ended up have a drink or two. And obviously the old faithful next to the field… Hopefully there will be a few “come on the house” and “there will be a wicket in a minute” shouts coming my way this season. A thing I have noticed over the seasons were, that  The House plays their cricket to win and you can see that on the field, there is no holding back, but off the field, all is good. That is one thing I am looking forward to this season, the fight and the wanting to do well for each other. A thing worth mentioning is the fact that I have  not been able to win a game against the “House”… I have come close but not one win for me yet!

With your knowledge of the Lowerhouse ground and wicket do you think it will suit your batting or bowling the most?      

Personally I think both. Batting wise it has always been a nice wicket to bat on once you get in. There is something in for the spinners and it’s always a nice challenge to bowl on the wicket. Saying that, this season is going to be easier than in the past as there is a great spinner to work with in Paddy. With me and Paddy working together I feel we can create a lot of pressure and feed off each other. With our batting line up, there will be a lot less pressure on me, which will allow me to play my game and enjoy myself.

With the introduction of 3 more teams the Lancashire League as made it’s biggest change of format since it began in 1892, even before Blez made his debut. Obviously this is a stepping stone. Did you feel a change was necessary and what would be the best final outcome?    

Personally I feel it’s a great move for league cricket. With a further 7 teams to join in the 2018 season things will start taking shape and it’s something to look forward to. In the end we play sport to play against the best and with the promotion/relegation involved it keeps clubs fighting till the end of the season.

Are you a big fan of Twenty20 and do you think the Lancashire League has the right balance between 20 over and 50 over cricket. Some of us old timers think it’s inevitable the millennials will have their way and more of a tilt to T-20 will surely come sooner or later.      

Have been hoping for a finals day for a while now. We are definitely moving towards the shorter format (the longer format remains the purest and best form). In the end we need to look at what will last longer and make the clubs more money to survive in tough times financially.

A pet hate of mine is the rules connected with lost time due to bad weather although I noted they helped you to become the only team to beat Champions Ramsbottom last season. I just think the least likely winner is rewarded too often. Would you keep the status quo, bring in D/L, or is there another option?  

We definitely need a different method for rain affected games. If you bat second in a rain affected game you will always have the better chance in winning with the current method we use in the league. D/L will probably be the best method if every club’s scorers know how to calculate it as it is not that easy! I will still claim we beat Rammy last season!!

Finally Ocki you probably know there is a keen local rivalry between Lowerhouse and Burnley. They have lost some talent whilst Lowerhouse have signed 2 or 3 decent amateurs. Where do you think the balance between the teams lies going into the 2017 season?

We have a squad of players that has the potential to do very well this season. Saying that, I feel you control what you can control. If we do our job and we do it well, I see us contending in all formats this season. It is the first time in my time in the League at a club that we have more than 13/14 players that can play first team cricket and compete with any other team in the league. I am really looking forward to the season, and like I said earlier I feel we can achieve a lot this season!

Thanks to Paul and Ocki for their input into a great article. More to follow before the season starts.