Lowerhouse versus Burnley – 21/06/1969

By Anne Cochrane – All images copyrighted by The Civic Trust

Some of you may have noticed that the  “From the Express Archives” feature on p. 27 of Friday’s Burnley Express history section, shows spectators at  Lowerhouse v Burnley, 50 years ago, 21st June 1969, although Roger Frost doesn’t give much detail of the actual game, concentrating on the history of the clubs.

The image was one of four accompanying an entertaining match report, all of which can be found on the Civic Trust Image Collection website https://www.bcthic.org by searching for Lowerhouse (Derby Game Full of Sensations – Nothing Like It For Years ).  The game was badly affected by the weather, and was full of incident, and some ill-feeling. Lowerhouse only managed 43 all out in their innings, and Burnley were 26 for five when rain mercifully stopped play once and for all, and the game ended in a draw.

However, a substantial number of photos were taken but not published,  and the Civic Trust have very kindly shared them with us. These provide a fascinating record of what the ground,  players and spectators. Only the published images have named players, although some faces will be familiar to some of us, and indeed Malcolm Blackhurst and Brian Higgin were playing that day.  Do you recognise anyone?

The teams  in batting order (thanks to the Lancashire League website, where the full scorecard can be found here

Lowerhouse: Mick Swift, Duncan Hall, Barry Smith, Brian Higgin, Joe Holland, Malcolm Blackhurst, Des Sparks (pro), Ian Wrigley (Wicketkeeper), Denis Pollard, Trevor Boardwell, Jack Stott (Capt.)

Burnley: Roland Harrison (Capt.), Ken Leaver, Peter Brown, Barry Bromley, Barry Foster, Mick McLeod, Bernard Lavin, Laurie Mayne (Pro), Joe Fletcher, Alan Worsick, John Richardson (Wicketkeeper).

Match Report
Title: Derby Game Full of Sensations – Nothing Like It For Years
Location: Lowerhouse Cricket Club, Liverpool Road, Burnley
Date:   21 Jun 1969

The West End derby game will be remembered for a long time in the light of what happened and what might have been. It was a remarkable match of startling sensations.  Many hearing about them will be regretting that they did not attend. There had been nothing like it for years. The whole progress of the encounter between these two ancient antagonistic clubs was worthy of a better attendance than £31.


It developed into high drama, and then after the grey curtain of rain swept down, turned into low comedy and ended in farce to a background of thunder and lightning and crowd noises off.  At one time, after an interval, Des Sparks and several of his amateur colleagues walked off in protest against the conditions underfoot. Fortunately, skipper John Stott remained in consultation with the umpires and the players returned.  The umpires had inspections of the wicket. So did the captains.

Groundsman Sid Giltrow marched on from the wings to say his piece, probably to inform the central characters that there was no more sawdust as an expected delivery had not arrived.  Even after the stumps were drawn the situation was not resolved, for the verbal struggle was continued by the spectators and there were reports of fist waving and scuffles. Some of the older supporters with long memories viewed the arguing groups with quiet smiles and flaming eyes and were heard to comment that it was “just like old times”. Probably nothing would have been stirred if the umpires had made up their minds about the conditions after  the heavy downpour and taken up the stumps immediately. Even Sid Giltrow expressed surprise when it was decided to resume. He had just reported surface water in the outfield and near the wicket and showed his shoes to prove it. Lowerhouse found runs at a premium from the start, Laurie Mayne’s first three overs were maidens and Joe Fletcher opened with two. These were curtain raisers to this amazing match in which were the following outstanding features:

  • Ian Wrigley (16) and Mick Swift (15) contributed, 31 of Lowerhouse’s 43 all out in which six batsmen failed to score.
  • The home run rate was 1.79 an over.
  • Alan Worsick back in the Burnley side after losing nearly a stone through illness, had his best performance for the club with wickets for 24.
  • Laurie Mayne captured four wickets for six runs in 12 overs, nine of which were maidens.
  • Lowerhouse had six wickets down for 26: Burnley five for nine.
  • Malcolm Blackhurst, the former Lowerhouse captain, making his first senior appearance of the season, was struck in the face by a rising delivery from Worsick.
  • John Stott, the Lowerhouse captain, took three wickets in one over – two with his fifth and sixth deliveries.  Bernard Lavin stopping the hat-trick.]
  • Lavin scored 14 not out of Burnley’s 26 for five.


The Lowerhouse fielding was brilliant, It had to be if they were to have a fighting chance against their own small score of 43.  They took some snappy catches – Barry Smith to dismiss Roland Harrison off Sparks and Denis Pollard and Joe Holland to send back Barry Bromley and Barry Foster. Lowerhouse were all out at 3-53 and at one period Worsick (who was given an ovation) had four for nine.  The thunder started about 4-30 and rain stopped play at 4-47, with Burnley in dire trouble and the match swinging in favour of the home side. Afterwards it was on, off, on, off, and Sparks pounded his long run on a trail of sawdust and spray and fell on his back after delivering the ball.  The farce was ended at 7-20 and the arguments raged with telling remarks addressed by supporters of both sides to anyone prepared to listen – and to some who were not!

Report by Don Smith.