Rawtenstall v Lowerhouse (Worsley Cup Semi Final)
Lowerhouse narrowly missed out on a place in their 2nd final of the season in a classic semi final at Rawtenstall on Sunday.
The visitors batted first but were hampered by the early loss of Jon Finch for just 2. Once again, Jonny Whitehead and Ben Heap got the momentum going. Whitehead in particular was looking very strong with some superb drives and cuts as he reached 34 (and produced another 50 partnership with Heap in the process). However, he couldn’t carry on his contribution as he was outfoxed by Keith Roscoe and smashed it to Cameron Holder. Cobus Pienaar (7) and Matt Walker (8) were unable to provide Heap with assistance as Lowerhouse were 84/4 at the drinks. Alongside Charlie Cottam, though, Heap was able to express him more freely after a fairly steady start to his innings. He took 19 off Holder’s 6 over including a couple of cracking sixes into the seated area to bring up his 2nd half century of the weekend. Cottam was also scoring boundaries at the other end as the visitors looked to set an imposing target. Cottam was unable to follow his partner to 50 after being caught by Chris Cook-Martin as Andy Riley struck on 38. After a couple more sixes into the packed crowd, Heap followed shortly afterwards to the same combination for a tremendous 71. Chris Bleazard (16) and Paddy Martin took the score beyond 200 and Martin ended the innings with a marvellous six towards the tea hut off the last ball as Lowerhouse completed their 50 overs with 224/9.
Cobus Piennar made the perfect start in his 1st over as Vinny Hanson clipped the ball high to Steven Whittaker off just the 2nd ball of the innings. Piennar continued to restrict the hosts to singles but Cook-Martin and Danny Barlow targeted Fergus Bailey as they took 21 off his 4 overs. A bowling change worked wonders, though, as Walker shattered Danny Barlow’s middle stump on 19. Shortly afterwards came the prize scalp of Brett Pelser as Cottam took a fine catch at mid off and the Rawtenstall professional was gone for 0. The experienced Andy Payne was looking well but the Martin brothers ended his comeback on 19. Cook-Martin (alongside Peter Wrathmell) decided to take the initiative from his point, especially against the returning Pienaar as the South African struggled to find his length in his 2nd spell and the batters punished him to the tune of 3o runs off 3 overs. Cook-Martin went beyond 50 and was closing in a well deserved century but Paddy Martin had other ideas and dismissed him via LBW on 80. The spinner produced a superb spell of bowling which was keeping the visitors on course for victory as he completed his 10 overs with figures of 2/21. Dean Barlow was run out on 2 and Riley (2) gave Cottam his 2nd catch of the day off the bowling of Finch, who was also having a good spell. At this point, the hosts were 168/7 and falling behind the required run rate but Wrathmell and Cameron Holder managed to address this situation with regular boundaries. Wrathmell posted the 2nd half century and took Rawtenstall within touching distance. In a late twist, though, Pienaar had come back for a 3rd spell and in his final over dismissed Wrathmell LBW for 63 then a few balls later bowled Cameron Holder for 27. He then made a claim to have Roscoe caught behind but the umpire declined the appeal and the match went to the final over. It came down to a battle between Walker and Imran Abid and the veteran clipped it through the mid on area for 4 on the 2nd ball of the over as Rawtenstall won a fantastic contest by just 1 wicket and will now compete against Burnley in the final on Sunday 10th August.
MOM was Ben Heap for his 71. Another exciting weekend coming up as Lowerhouse host Church in the Twenty20 Final then Colne visit the Neville Gee (Recruitment) Arena for a Lancashire League clash.