Lowerhouse v Nelson
Lowerhouse got a psychological edge over their Twenty20 semi final opponents with a comfortable victory at the Neville Gee (Recruitment) Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The hosts won the toss and decided to bat first on a reasonable day, weather wise. Jon Finch opened for the 2nd time this season and that decision seemed to be working as he played a series of beautiful clips towards the boundary edge. He was stopped in his tracks on 30, though, by Toqir Hussain who also claimed the wicket of Ben Heap (2) in his next over. Jonny Whitehead, who had been scoring quite steadily up to this point, began to increase the tempo alongside Cobus Pienaar. The two of them were scoring at just above 4 runs an over but Whitehead edged it to keeper Russell Bradley off the bowling of Harrison Phelan for 40 but had produced another 50 partnership with the South African. Pienaar continued to score at around a run a ball but he also fell just of his half century as he drove it straight to Lewis Bradley for 42. Charlie Cottam carried on where he left off from last week’s 71* and kept the scoreboard ticking over at a decent rate. He also got out after making a start as Phelan trapped him LBW for 30. Chris Bleazard had a rare failure as he was run out for 2. Joe Hawke and debutant Ben Gorton (a late replacement for Declan Bailey who injured his finger in the warm up) got things back on track, Hawke in particular was playing some impressive shots. Gorton scored 3 fours in a row before finding Sam Halstead at mid on for 22. For the remaining overs, Hawke demonstrated his power and he went 50 with 4 almost identical sixes straight down the grounds towards the car park as Lowerhouse finished on 255/8 after 50 overs.
Nelson’s openers Tyler McGladdery and Lewis Bradley struggled to cope with Pienaar and Hawke’s pace as there were several play and misses in the first 4 overs, particular from Bradley. He was eventually put out of his misery as he thinned one through to Joe Martin off Pienaar for just 3. McGladdery was gone next over to Hawke for 10 as he found Pienaar at backward point off. Professional Ryan Canning (0) was unable to make any impact he was out LBW to Pienaar after just 8 balls. Captain Neil Thompson was Pienaar’s next victim as he clipped it to Cottam for 4, Pienaar would finish with figures of 3/39 off 12 overs. Russell Bradley (17), Phelan (10) and Hussain (32) did their best to get some momentum going but failed and Nelson were now 108/8 with nearly 20 overs still remaining and looked unlikely to reach their target. Richard Meade, however, certainly gave it a good go as he plundered his way to a maiden Lancashire League 50 but the fun was finally ended when he found Gorton at mid on for 69. Their main aim now was to deny Lowerhouse the 2 bowling points and maybe get a batting point of their own. Halstead also posted a personal best of 31* but in a frantic last over from Paddy Martin, Nelson survived both a run out enquiry and a very strong LBW appeal on the final ball as they finished on 204/9 off their 50 overs (1 run short of securing a point).
MOM was Joe Hawke for his 59*. The biggest weekend of the season so far lies in wait for Lowerhouse as they head to Nelson on Friday night for the Twenty20 Semi Final and then do battle at Rawtenstall in the Worsley Cup Semi Final on Sunday with an important league game at Bacup placed in between the two on Saturday.