The Champagne Challenge..

On August 5th 2017 in a 89 run defeat of Ramsbottom, Lowerhouse all rounder Paddy Martin scored 80 not out and followed it up with a 7-26 bowling performance.

This was such a great achievement that Harry Brooks, the Club’s great patron offered a bottle of fine champagne if he could be convinced that any ‘House amateur had had a better all round match.

I thought he may be right but did a little detective work to prove him wrong. I knew that Lowerhouse great Tommy Shutt had taken 76 wickets in 1910 (a team record) and i also knew he was capable of getting a high score in his big hitting fashion. It wasn’t long before a found a performance that might win me the bubbles.

Almost 107 years to the day before Martin’s outstanding game; Tommy Shutt had scored 113 not out and followed it up with 6-23 as East Lancs were sent home 153 runs short of their target.

Harry was typically sporting in acknowledging that this had just pipped Paddy and presented me with a bottle of Moet and Chandon.

Fearing that this expensive drink might go to my head and also mar my’ man of the people’ persona I’ve put the bottle safely away from temptation.

The gift will go to outstanding club servant, and Shutt’s modern day equivalent, namely Chris Bleazard, when he finally calls it a day or breaks Michael Ingham’s  League batting record, whichever comes first.

Paul Hargreaves

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