Lowerhouse vs Burnley – All Time Worsley Cup head to head

By Paul Hargreaves

The Worsley Cup, as we know it today, was first contested in 1920 the second season after league cricket had returned since the hiatus caused by the Great War. Almost 100 years later Lowerhouse and Burnley will contest their very first final together. This isn’t quite as odd as some people think. This is only the West End’s club’s fourth final and they’ve also not played a final against Accrington, Bacup, Rawtenstall, Ramsbottom, Enfield, Todmorden, Colne, Nelson nor Rishton. For most of the years before 1950 the cup was seeded on a regional basis whereby a Lowerhouse-Burnley final just wasn’t possible.

There might not have been a final between the two neighbours but there have been some epic encounters down the years at other various stages of the Worsley Cup. The very first meeting was in 1924 with both clubs looking for a semi-final place. Both ‘House openers passed 20 but they were bowled out for 92. Burnley floundered in reply and were well beaten. That great club servant Tommy Shutt, in his penultimate season of a career which had started in 1893, took 5-18 with his canny bowling. Shutt took 1,000 league wickets for Lowerhouse and nobody else has got within 400 of that! ‘House 1 Burnley 0.

It was two years later that Lowerhouse played Burnley for the first time at Liverpool Rd. The stand-out performers for the home side were South African Test pro’ Claude Carter with 6-35 and stalwart batsman Arthur Spencer with a half century. Lowerhouse won by 2 wkts. ‘House 2 Burnley 0.

Three years later the teams clashed again in the competition’s second round of 1927. Fred Webster , one of Lowerhouse’s best and underrated professionals took 5-27 and Lowerhouse won by 3 wkts. ‘House 3 Burnley 0.

A year later ‘House would make it 4 in a row versus their cross town rivals. Lowerhouse batting first made 153. Burnley were humiliated, making just 39 all out. Webster took 7-27 and it shows Lancashire’s county side’s strength that this Accrington born player was very limited in his first class chances. ‘House 4 Burnley 0 .

In 1931 Fred Webster had crossed town to be Burnley’s pro’ but even his skills couldn’t stop Lowerhouse making it a nap hand. Lowerhouse chased 110 for victory and scrapped home with the last pair at the wicket. ‘House 5 Burnley 0 .

In the first round of the 1935 Worsley Cup Lowerhouse carried on their streak making it 6 in a row and proving a real cup nemesis to the Turfites. Burnley’s 108 was insufficient to stop a 5 wicket win for the ‘House. ‘House 6 Burnley 0.

A year later Burnley finally got on the scoreboard. Lowerhouse actually made a healthy 202 and the Turf Moor side could have been forgiven if they’d had a ‘here we go again’ feeling. Burnley chased down the runs with opener Eric Procter starring with 91. ‘House 6 Burnley 1.

During the Second World War the Lancashire League carried on without the engagement of professionals and also without the Worsley Cup being contested. When the competition returned in 1947 it was the same pattern as pre-War with Lowerhouse securing a 25 run win over Burnley. They owed it to a fine all-round performance from pro’ Manny Martindale. This fine West Indian player had been pro’ at Turf Moor in the late thirties but was a definite thorn in their side this day taking 6-40 and scoring a vital half century.

This would be as good as it gets for Lowerhouse as the margin of victories would soon close dramatically. Still ‘House 7 Burnley 1.

The last time the Worsley Cup was drawn on a regional basis was 1949 and the old rivals clashed in the second round after seeing off Colne and Nelson respectively. Lowerhouse were all out for 97. It wasn’t their fine, if volatile pro’ Cec Pepper who did the main damage but Leo Dixon with a 7-40 spell. Burnley cruised through to the semis by 7 wkts. It was the last Worsley Cup game for ‘House veteran Herbert Lawson, then the team’s record run scorer. ‘House 7 Burnley 2 .

There would follow a 8 year gap before the next clash in the first round of 1957. Burnley piled up 307 runs, the highlight being a 184 run partnership between ex-Claret footballer Peter Kippax(110) and Derek Chadwick(85) Lowerhouse made a gallant attempt but were 250 all out. Manny Martindale’s 2 sons Colin and Fred played for Lowerhouse that day, the latter getting a century in the losing effort. ‘House 7 Burnley 3.

So to the famous and very one-sided match in the first round of 1959. Burnley got a remarkable 523, of which their West Indian star pro’ ‘Collie’ Smith got 306 not out. Lowerhouse’s record margin of defeat of 376 runs may take some shifting from the record books! Sadly a mere 3 months later Turf Moor and the entire cricketing world were in mourning when Smith was fatally injured in a car crash. ‘House 7 Burnley 4.

Two years later Derek Riley’s 96 was the highlight of a fairly routine Burnley victory. ‘House 7 Burnley 5 .

Another small 2 year gap before the next clash at Liverpool Rd. Keith Williams top scored for Burnley but Lowerhouse’s reply was pitiful. They were dismissed for 41. Ross Howarth(5-26) and pro’ Malcolm Hilton(3-15) doing the damage. ‘House 7 Burnley 6.

In 1967 the two teams met in the first round. Lowerhouse batted first and made 142. Long time player and supporter Malcolm Blackhurst top scored with 33. Burnley just got over the line with a typically painstaking knock of 45 not out from sub-pro’ Trevor Bailey. He was an Essex and England all rounder and for countless years a familiar voice on Test Match Special. ‘House 7 Burnley 7 .

Burnley would then take their first lead in the series in the second round tie of 1970. Neil Whalley, father of former ‘House player David, top scored with 71 out of 202. Lowerhouse were well short at 121 all out despite another top score from Blackhurst(44) ‘House 7 Burnley 8 .

There was then quite a long gap of nine seasons until 1979. Young Ben Uttley’s granddad Mick McLeod saved Burnley from humiliation, making 76 out of 120. Lowerhouse were sadly undone for just 76 and to rub salt into the wounds it was ex-Lowerhouse favourite Trevor Jones who was the culprit taking an impressive 6-24. ‘House 7 Burnley 9.

The longest ever gap of 14 years occurred before a second round clash in 1993. Lowerhouse owed Ted Whittle’s 30 just to reach a paltry 91. Burnley lost 4 wickets before crossing the line. ‘House 7 Burnley 10 .

Just a 4 year gap this time but the result was the same as Burnley piled on the agony for ‘House fans again. They made 187 with pro’ Dale Benkenstein getting a careful 65.(Jordaan 5-74) In reply Chris Bleazard’s 57 was in vain as 75-2 became 147 all out. ‘House 7 Burnley 11 .

The clubs again came out of the hat together in 1998 and after fifty years of misery since their last win over Burnley; Lowerhouse got a measure of revenge. The ‘House made 209 with Mark Whelan top scoring with 82 not out. Whelan was a good player but his availability wasn’t nearly enough for Lowerhouse’s liking. Burnley’s reply came up 46 runs short. ‘House 8 Burnley 11 .

Four years later on the way to a very forgettable semi-final, Lowerhouse pulled off a 4 wicket win at Turf Moor. Chasing 199 that excellent batter Jacques Rudolph’s 62 helped to a 4 wicket victory. ‘House 9 Burnley 10.

2004 was a special year for Lowerhouse as finally that season’s Worsley Cup was secured and became their first major trophy. The ‘House were lucky to get 4 straight home games in the 2004 competition. The first of these saw them score 167 against Burnley. The old rivals were looking good at 71-2 but they fell to 138 all out. ‘House 9 Burnley 11 .

The ‘House-Burnley rivalry was at it’s most ferocious in 2008 when the controversy of whether Burnley pro’ Kulatunga was or wasn’t caught by Finch caused serious repercussions especially at Lowerhouse. It was crucially given not out and Burnley got home. ‘House 10 Burnley 12 .

Before 2013 all the clashes between Lowerhouse and Burnley had been in the first or second round but now they were amongst the elite teams and both had been drawn together in the semi-final. The game was at Burnley’s Turf Moor ground but rather unsatisfactorily was carried on over two weekends. Burnley cracked the 200 mark with Q Ali top scoring with 76. Even with a stacked batting line-up which saw Matt Walker batting as low as No.9, Lowerhouse were well short at 167. ‘House 10 Burnley 13.

The dream of a ‘House-Burnley final was a very realistic possibility in 2014 when the semi-final draw so them avoid each other. Unfortunately Lowerhouse couldn’t quite fulfil their side of the bargain when they put in a below par performance versus Rawtenstall and were narrowly beaten.

The draw wasn’t so kind for the semis of 2015. In the second meeting at the semi-final stage in 3 seasons, Lowerhouse’s innings of 180 at Liverpool Rd. wasn’t nearly enough against their powerful neighbours. David Brown making an imperious 91 not out in a 7 wicket Burnley win. ‘House 10 Burnley 14 .

Who knows what today’s 25th meeting and the very first in a final will bring? It’s particularly strange that it should happen just as the number of teams trying to get their hands on the famous silverware as risen to 24. Let’s hope the spirit of the match is excellent but, for better or worse, this is not a tombola at the vicarage tea party and the elation of victory and the sour taste of defeat are inevitable in such an epic contest.

Let’s hope that one side shows class and humility in victory and the other feels no more than a little pain in defeat. Is it in the stars that it’ll be ‘House 11 Burnley 14 or ‘House 10 Burnley 15?

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