This article was featured in the Not the Spin fanzine of the Lancashire Cricket Action Group in April 2019. You can buy this fanzine and all other publications from their website here.
By Roy Cavanagh MBE
Frank Entwistle explains how Lowerhouse Cricket Club have made T20 a success.
The Lancashire League T20 Competition was originally introduced in 2005. The inaugural year was a simple knock out tournament which eventually saw Haslingden close down Lowerhouse’s 196-4 with a ball to spare at Bentgate.
The game incredibly featured Andrew McDonald current Melbourne Renegades BBL Head Coach, Jonathan Finch current ECB High Performance Manager for Women and Girls, Chris Benbow current Lancashire Second Eleven Coach all for Lowerhouse and Middlesex wicketkeeper, John Simpson for Haslingden.
Fast forward 13 years and the tournament now falls under their JW Lees Brewery sponsors banner and features all of its recently expanded 24 clubs, split into four regional groups with games on Friday night in late May to early July, culminating in Sunday finals day at the end of July.
The competition is embraced no more exuberantly than at Lowerhouse Cricket Club who consistently had the largest attendances year-on-year culminating last year with three barmy nights with over 1000 in attendance at each event. (Even more than Lancashire got for their day night game versus Nottingham last year)
Having previously used all the traditional tools at its disposal; flyers, posters, email contacts, and even text etc, The House strove to get the message into our local community identifying at an early stage the potential outcome.
Blessed with over 4500 homes within a mile of the ground it’s still a task to get folk down to any local cricket club. However, the House have been more successful than most.
Embracing the technological advances within social media has proved its single biggest driver. The clubs website is well maintained and extensive., the club social media team have worked tirelessly over the years to increase the clubs popularity on social media, hence it standing at the top of the pile in terms of an amateur club with followers in excess of 10000 the club even introduced it’s on apple app last year.
T20 event updates on the club’s website are driven using its Facebook and Twitter accounts using a variety of free to enter competitions to win numerous prizes and even on the night, any catch in the crowd will win you 6 free pints
Lowerhouse have always put a free band on after the game, entries included in the gate and set across the league £3 with £1 concessions. The House differ from most or many, in that they actively encourage attendees to bring their own beer or alcohol.
Our theory has always been if we can get them through the gates we will be savvy enough to get some money off them. in a worst case scenario at least they are paying to get in and it’s unlikely they will bring her own beer or at least enough of it to ask them for the game, hopefully they might come back. Ideally people bring their mates set their own budget spend and get terrific value for money, a bit of promised sunshine and the grass banks at Lowerhouse is easily packed with enthusiastic drinkers enjoying a night out with their family, friends and neighbours.
A well stocked bar, with a healthy complement of staff ensures little or no queuing. The bar is complemented by can bars around the ground and the clubs Tea Room offers a variety of hot and cold food options with the kids well catered for ensuring the whole family can come and enjoy the night. The clubs eager band of volunteers cover the gates, run a raffle and make collections for local charities or foodbanks.
I fully appreciate it’s not one for the purists and fully respect those individual opinions but at local cricket level is here to stay and providing an invaluable income stream to many of the County’s cricket clubs.