Rawtenstall v Lowerhouse
Lowerhouse banished memories of defeat in the reverse fixture with their best league display of the season with a comfortable win over fellow title challengers Rawtenstall.
The visitors won the toss and decided to bat first. Ben Heap got off to a speedy start, reaching 18 in the first 6 overs but then gave wicketkeeper Vinny Hanson a regulation catch off the bowling of Dean O’Brien. Jack Edgar registered his second single figure of the weekend, scoring just one. This meant a repeat of Friday night with Jonny Whitehead and Cobus Pienaar. Whitehead took a real liking to O’Brien, sending him to the fence on several occasions. Both batsmen also got the better of veteran Keith Roscoe with consistently good overs. Whitehead reached his first league 50 of 2014 off 47 balls, which was remarkable as he didn’t actually score a run in his first 15 balls. He collected two more boundaries before Brett Pelser got through his defences and he was gone for 60, another sign that he was coming back to his best form (this was also Whitehead and Pienaar second 50+ partnership of the weekend, 63 in total). Pienaar and Matt Walker continued to keep the run rate at over 5 an over and pushed Lowerhouse past 150 inside 30 overs. After Pienaar (42) lost his wicket, Walker well and truly took charge. Cameron Holder and Roscoe took severe punishment after the left hander reached 50 then after some superb hitting into the stands (including 3 sixes in a row off Roscoe) raced to 79 before rain intervened in the 42nd over with Joe Hawke also providing another useful cameo of 19. When the players returned to the field, there was just 9 balls left and Walker managed to add 9 more runs to his score as his innings finished on a career best 88, a tremendous knock. After 43 overs Lowerhouse posted a score of 250/7, a highly impressive total that would have been beyond 300 if they had been able to go the distance.
The rain resumed during the break and didn’t stop for over one hour. When the players eventually made it back on, Rawtenstall’s new target was 159 off 22 overs. Joe Hawke and Cobus Pienaar were the only bowlers used by the visitors. Hawke drew first blood as Hanson (5) skied one in the air and Joe Martin came rushing out from the stumps to take the catch. Pelser (1) played a similar shot off Pienaar and met the same fate as Walker held on near the edge of the circle. Danny Barlow (2) also tried to go big but could only find Declan Bailey at mid on. Peter Wrathmell (7) and Matt Kershaw (6) also failed to offer opener Sam Kershaw any support as they both fell to Pienaar. Dean Barlow, however did manage to stay him as they managed some big overs but were unable to keep up with the increasing run rate. Sam Kershaw’s resistance ended on 42 as his middle stump was taken out by Pienaar. Andy Riley joined Dean Barlow but was only able to score at a run a ball as Lowerhouse’s fielding stopped Rawtenstall from progessing further. Dean Barlow departed on 49 in the final over as Pienaar completed his innings with figures of 5/69. Riley provided some lusty blows in the last few balls as it wasn’t enough as Rawtenstall finished on 148/7, 11 runs short of their target but still gained 5 points for their efforts. Church’s loss to Haslingden meant that Lowerhouse became the new leaders of the Lancashire League, 5 points clear of Ramsbottom.
MOM was Matt Walker for his 88. Something of a novelty as there is only one match this weekend but it’s a big one as Burnley return for the 3rd inter-town clash of the season.