Photo by Alan Holden – Text by Paul Hargreaves
There has always been an edge to the Burnley/Lowerhouse rivalry and sometimes it has spilled over to be more serious than that.
In 1980, though, some of the players from each club co-operated in a most memorable campaign in the Bass sponsored National Pub knockout competition. It was fairly instant cricket consisting of 7 a side and 12 overs. Each player except the wicket keeper bowled 2 overs apiece.
The Brunshaw Hotel was chosen to represent the Burnley area. The pub as now been closed for many years but stood at the top end of Brunshaw Rd. close to the junction with Coleshill Ave.
The players were: back row L to R Trevor Jones(Burnley and ex-Lowerhouse) Trevor Pickup(Burnley) Alan Holden(Lowerhouse) Tom Sullivan(Lowerhouse) Graham Bushell(Burnley and soon to join Lowerhouse) Front row L to R John Richardson(Burnley) Brian Higgin(Lowerhouse) Stephen Gee(Earby pro’ and ex-Lowerhouse) Mick McLeod(Burnley) played in some games but isn’t on the photo.
The team won 4 straight games to become North-west Champs. There were 2 fairly routine home wins on their designated Bank Hall home ground. The 2 away wins were more problematic. They had to overcome a strong Haslingden based team which had sneakily drafted that fine pro’ Peter Swart into their squad but it was to no avail as the Brunshaw triumphed. Thinking about it, it was a fair enough move because you couldn’t say Swarty didn’t go in pubs! The Brunshaw came closest to defeat in their other away tie at Goosnargh near Preston. In this game all seemed lost until a last wicket partnership between Jones and Richardson saw the visitors home.
The reward was to reach the last 4 and play on the Test match ground at Trent Bridge, Nottinghamshire. The team were put up in a high quality city hotel but sadly the next day the dream was over at the semi-final stage. The big disappointment was it had been a more than winnable game but they weren’t at their best to take advantage. The good first prize of a week’s holiday in Greece had eluded them. Still the team stayed on to see the eventual National Champions play an international select seven.
The latter team had Geoff Miller, David Bairstow and Pakistani Test bowler Sarfraz Nawaz amongst their squad. The latter would have played against many of the Brunshaw players when he’d been a very good Nelson pro’ in the early 1970’s. He was a rather difficult character and definitely an ‘acquired’ taste. He would later delve into the murky world of Pakistani politics and survive an assassination attempt from his own side!
So that was it for the Brunshaw team but not before the landlord, pleased with the good publicity, presented all the players with an expensive tie to thank them for their fine efforts.