Match Report vs Rishton (Away) Worsley Cup 2015

Following the disappointment of no play being possible the day before the Lancashire League champions returned to a still very damp Rishton despite there being no rain the previous day or overnight. Play was set to start on time today however and the chances of a good game on a sticky wicket were very high.

Lowerhouse fielded the same side as the week before against Nelson and with Rishton fielding professional Kelly Smuts, who introduced himself in spectacular fashion to the champions last year whilst playing for Todmorden, LHCC knew it was him they had to keep quiet if they had any chance of winning the game.

Charlie Cottam won the toss and decided he wanted first use of the track and young openers Martin and Whitehead didn’t complain as they got the house off to a blistering start. Jonny picked up where he left off the week before and hit some magnificent blows, especially on the arrival of Rishton captain Shaun Hutchinson who went for 20 in his first over. Joe Martin (24) provided Jonny with good support before he fell in strange circumstances, which eventually went in the scorebook as stumped, with the score on 88 to give Rishton their first wicket. Jonny was then cleaned up following the introduction of Matt Lambert into the Rishton attack, without adding to the score, to finish on 60. Jonny’s was a truly dominant knock taking no prisoners when the Rishton bowlers narrowly missed their line or length and brought up his half century after just 12.1 overs before being dismissed with just 15 overs gone. Cobus was introduced to the crease at number three with him and Charlie swapping places for the Captain to enter at number four. The two put on 15 before Cobus lost patience following some tight bowling from Lambert and succeeded in only lofting the ball to cover where ex-Lowerhouse and Burnley player, Josh Whitehead, held on to the catch to remove the Lowerhouse professional for just 10. Matthew Walker was the next man in and he and Charlie carefully negotiated the rest of Smuts’ overs as he finished his 10 overs just before drinks to finish wicketless. With the pro bowled out Cottam and Walker had their sights on a big total before Cottam (13) was undone by the track as he played onto his own stumps from a ball which seemed to take an eternity to reach him. Paddy Martin joined walker with the score at 123-4 and seemed to enjoy the batting conditions as he timed shots well all around the wicket to keep the scoreboard ticking. Walker was then dropped at short fine leg attempting to pull a short ball from Bradley Boddie before being caught at mid wicket following a leading edge which just about managed to get to the hands of Smuts as he exited for a knock of 29 to give Boddie his second wicket of the day. Enter Chris Bleazard, which I’m sure can be getting quite daunting for opposition captains seeing the League Legend stroll out at number 7, as he and Paddy enjoyed a decent period of time at the crease which saw them add 79 for the 6th wicket. Blez and Paddy managed to pick up boundaries at regular intervals to help the Lowerhouse score past 200 before Blez was caught at long off for an extremely helpful 37. Paddy followed two runs later after also making 37 as he was bowled trying to improvise a Josh Whitehead delivery to give Whitehead a wicket against his former club. Fergus then fell victim to trying to score quick runs as he was caught at long on from the bowling of Briggs for just 4 to have Lowerhouse at 235-8 with just a couple of overs remaining. Lewis Marsden and Dom Stuart were the unbeaten batsmen who managed to keep the runs coming with good running between the wickets and a magnificent six from Stuart which bounced just in front of the tea room. Lowerhouse ended the innings on exactly 250 with Joe Halstead the batsman that wasn’t needed.

The Rishton reply got off to the worst possible start when Lambert was adjudged LBW from the fifth ball of the game to give Matthew Walker his first wicket of the game and have Rishton at 1-1. With the cup bowling restrictions, and Lowerhouse wanting to save some of the professional’s overs for the middle of the game, Dominic Stuart got the chance to show what he was capable of with the new ball and didn’t disappoint as he frequently made the Rishton batsmen look uncomfortable but just couldn’t find the edge of the bat. The opposition professional survived a scare when he miscued a pull shot from Walker that looped into a gap in the outfield when he was on just 4. Smuts proved why he was the key wicket form then on hitting some lusty blows to anything that was marginally short and playing some magnificent shots through the offside if the ball was over pitched meaning that the Lowerhouse bowlers didn’t have any margin for error. The introduction of Pienaar brought the other Rishton openers innings to an end after he had reached 14 when he chipped the ball straight to mid on to put Rishton to 43-2. Bradley Boddie cam and went after reaching 12 when he was well run out by a combination of Joe Halstead and Joe Martin as the pressure began to show in the Rishton amateurs. Josh Whitehead was undone by a beauty from Paddy Martin, the ball cannoning into off stump after beating the left handers outside edge, to give the off spinner his first of three wickets on the day. Joe Halstead then got in on the action and reaped the rewards of some very patient bowling to disturb Keegan Dobson’s furniture which left Rishton struggling at 99-5. It wasn’t much longer before the smuts resistance was also ended as paddy beat the defences once again to hit the stumps of Smuts, which was one of three wickets to fall with the score on 113. Briggs was then well run out by the calmest man on the ground Lewis Marsden before Paddy showed that bowling straight was the key that day picking up Matt Lambert for his third wicket, all of which were out bowled. Garth Wyse made 7 before being bowled by Fergus to give him his only wicket of the game. Following a brief resistance from Matt Leathert, who made 24 before being caught at cover by Whitehead off the bowling of Walker, the Rishton innings was all over with the score on 156. The home sides captain, Shaun Hutchinson, was the unbeaten man on 7 as Lowerhouse enjoyed safe passage into the hat for the next round of the cup competition where they have been drawn away at Enfield.

There is a lot to look forward to at Lowerhouse in the next few weeks with the bank holiday weekend offering up two trips to Todmorden and the chance of a fun filled bus ride over to Horwich for the first LCB game of the season.

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