Old Trafford – My thoughts – Stan Heaton
LCB CUP FINAL
It was very sad that Sunday’s weather made for a dreadful conclusion to what was a day of anticipated thrill and skill.
The play that took place, albeit only 9 overs, showed to us that the standard of league cricket in Lancashire is something that we can be proud of. The technique, grit and determination on show demonstrated few stray balls or shots, and I feel that an enthralling encounter was set up.
We were proud of our support. We know that the Viking attributes of our support sometimes test genteelness but we feel that their love of the club outweighs any concerns over the saltiness of the behaviour. My abiding off – field / non VIP room memories will be of the packed members bar during the rain – with 150 Lowerhouse fans in there , 20 of whom were sat round a table playing “chase the ace” and drinking from their own cans. Probably not what Lancashire CC expected. In the background we saw keyboard antagonists Frank Entry/ Paul Stansfield and head of the LCB, Bobby Denning building relationships in the way that only personal contact can. All credit to Bobby for taking the time to mingle. Outside a further 400 Lowerhouse fans braved the weather. We saw people we never expected to see there, and upon leaving Old Trafford received the news that 200 fans were back at the club. Fortunately the speech to them on behalf of the club and its committee, was made between the 10th and 14th pint and we believe that it was at least coherent.
It was a delight to see out “all stars” and under 9s do the guard of honour and a shame the half time kick cricket couldn’t take place. We had numerous junior players in the stands with parents. Oh how this makes everything we do so worthwhile!
Speaking of Bobby and the LCB. We were treated royally. The hospitality afforded to our VIP guests was only outweighed by the facilities afforded to the players and the club. On Sunday, Old Trafford became our home. We were afforded the players pavilion, the member’s facilities and a prime slot on the square. We could not have expected better. We would like to thank Bobby, Paul Bryson and the LCB for the amazing opportunity that we were afforded on this day, and no doubt at Blackpool. We will ask the LCB and Ormskirk that if no play is possible at Blackpool or in the future, that the trophy is shared. We do not think that a bowl out is the correct way to settle this.
Of our own people, such is the dedication of the likes of Secretary Frank Entry and President Harry Brooks that they chose to spend the day with the supporters and forgo the VIP suite. Unfortunately 4 of us were obliged to represent the club and we were delighted to take with us unsung club stalwart Keith Fairclough and Judith Wren. Judith needs no introduction and there was a great deal of poignancy about this occasion. No doubt David was with us, and would have been proud of Keith, who within 5 minutes of meeting Bobby Denning complained about LHCC having to pay a share of the umpire’s fee when playing away from home, when a gate was taken. We anticipate a rule change in respect of this encounter. In any event Judith was a sobering influence on Keith in respect of the free bar for the VIPs.
We would wish to express our sincere regards to Ormskirk CC for the national finals at Chelmsford in a fortnight. To reach the finals of a national club knockout is remarkable, and one only needs to look at Ormskirk roll of honour to see what a magnificent club this must be. We had the opportunity to meet and speak with the Ormskirk hierarchy and indeed the players, 2 of whom we knew from their days at Longridge CC. Ormskirk are a team of young cricketers, most of whom are the products of Ormskirk’s youth system and having spoken to many of them, a credit to cricket, their club and their league. Good luck in the national finals to Ormskirk CC and especially Fordy who must be the highest placed 4XI player to be in a VIP bar.
We would also like to place on record, not only our pride in our magnificent support but in Ben Heap and the players. Although the day was curtailed, they did the club proud. As indeed they did the previous day in beating Burnley. How easy it must have been to solely concentrate on the final.
Charlie Cottam described that when the players ran out on the field, the roar from our spectators gave the impression that the ground was full. The songs in the member’s bar of “I love my Lowerhouse” made the hairs on one’s neck stand on end. Here’s to Sunday at Blackpool – a club with previous experience of the Viking invasion. Good luck to Blackpool and indeed and more so – Good luck to our boys.
Finally. Much organisation went into last Sunday and again this Sunday. Supporter transport from Frank Enty. Players coach (Oldham Athletic), courtesy of President Harry, and T shirts, polo shirts and posters organised by Shelly.
Thank you for your continued support.
Up the House