1980: From the Archive

Following hard on the heels of Roger Bromley’s wonderful podcast we feature two photographs from the 1980 season showing Roger in full bowling pomp in an express Cup game.

The season was a good marker of progress.

From the darkest hour in 1975 (bottom by 18 points) the side had clawed its way up the league , almost place by place, season by season and by 1979 were finishing 9th .

1980 saw a 5th place finish and runners up in the Worsley Cup.

A somewhat surprising finish in view of some modest personal performances. However along with all-rounder professional Mohinder Amaranth (Indian test player), the club had one of the best all round amateurs in the league in Jonny Hartley. Jon had been a schoolmate of mine at Burnley Grammar School and wasn’t getting a look in at Burnley CC, so he joined us. In this season he did the double of 500 runs and 50 wickets which was a rarity in the league. So much so, when Jon achieved this he was the first amateur in 25 years in the whole league and only the second Lowerhouse player since Tommy Shutt in 1906. It was 22 years before another amateur succeeded. Since Jonny, our own Jonathan Finch and Matt Walker have achieved it along with our under 13, Zac Jackson’s dad – Liam (Enfield) – who is a regular at the club, watching Zac.

John soon became Padiham CC professional and then moved out of the area. He reached the heights of minor counties cricket with Oxfordshire. We were pleased to see him at the club with club benefactor Donnie Doran sponsoring a Twenty20 a couple of years ago.

Both Amaranth and Jonny were in the League’s top 50 averages at the end of the season along with bowlers Roger and Alan Holden.

Features of the season were a high scoring game at Haslingden which proved to be the 3rd highest scoring game in the 1980 League season. Lowerhouse overtook Haslingden’s score of 215 in a 31 x 8 ball over game. I played in this game in which we won with 4 balls to spare, thanks to Brian Higgin’s 99 and Tom Sullivan’s 28 not out which featured huge sixes into the old abattoir (newish houses now alongside the road into the ground.)

Brian didn’t score a league century. Here he got a bad ball which he thought he would play safe with, and glide it down to 3rd man. Unfortunately it was a faint edge to the keeper and Brian walked. The umpire later conceded that he wouldn’t have given Brian out as the edge had been to slight for him to notice.

As an aside. That season there were 18 team scores in the whole league above 200. In 2019 there were 40. The highest score in 1980 would have been the 5th highest in 2019. We now play approximately 5 more overs these days plus leg side wides which will help run a total up. Interestingly, the scores under 100 have remained the same.

Dave Keeley 28* and Alan Holden 40* had the highest 8th wicket stand in the league in 1980 – 59 runs in a win at Nelson.

Keith Fairclough took 3 catches in one match v East Lancs. Hard to believe but it’s in the records.

Looking at the second eleven – exact tables don’t exist but it would appear from records that we would have been pretty near the bottom 2 if not in there. The 2s lost in the first round of the cup by a mammoth 183 runs.  Nick and Jez Hope were in this team . This was obviously character building for them.

We will cover the Express Cup and Worsley Cup in the next feature.

Stan Heaton

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