Double win for Nelson

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NELSON celebrated a win double at the weekend, including a Worsley Cup mini-derby thriller.

The cup-tie between Nelson and Burnley was played on Sunday in decidedly chilly conditions, but the fortunes of the sides swung constantly one way and then the other.

Burnley won the toss, elected to bat, and got off to a sparkling start. Bharat Tripathi and Qasim Ali, together, hammered six boundaries as they sped to 45 without loss within eight overs.

Nelson gained the upper hand, however, in the next 17 overs as they restricted the visitors to 88-3 at the half-way stage. Tripathi was bowled by Shahzaib Hasan for 21 whilst Ali was adjudged lbw to Toqir Hussain for 36 and Daniel Pickup went cheaply, caught and bowled by Neil Thompson for one.

Adnan Rasool was then bowled by Hussain for a duck and Nelson were jubilant when Russell Bradley took a spectacular diving catch down the leg side to dismiss Michael Kelly for four. Chris Burton (26) and skipper Steve Brunt (40) lead a good recovery to give their side a decent total to defend. However, only Yakub Bhamji among the latter batsmen reached double figures as David Crotty (2-20), Toqir Hussain (2-26) and Waqas Tahir (2-49) grabbed a couple of wickets each in a frenzied finish as Burnley were all out for 169.

Nelson began their innings quietly with only 14 runs coming from the initial six overs. However, Sean Lemon cracked three boundaries off Steve Brunt to up the tempo. Bharat Tripathi was introduced into the attack and he immediately had Lemon caught at short extra cover for 26. That brought Hasan to the crease and he punished Tripathi mercilessly, clubbing him for two massive sixes. Hasan also hit his opposite number, Rasool, over the ropes but the bowler had his revenge two balls later, getting Hasan caught at point. Hasan’s brief stay lasted 23 minutes, facing 25 balls, as he hit three sixes and two fours in his 30.

Nelson, at the halfway stage, were comfortable placed at 95-2 but quick wickets brought them back down to earth. Chris Willan was lbw to Michael Kelly for 22 and Neil Thompson was lbw to Rasool for one. After Rizwan Hussain was run out for 11, the runs dried up with Kelly and Jamie Capstick, in particular, bowling extremely tightly. The Burnley fielding was also very keen and David Crotty was the victim of some quick thinking as he was run out for 21.

Only 12 runs were added in eight overs as three wickets fell, putting Nelson on a precarious 144-8 with only four overs remaining. Lewis Bradley had struggled initially, taking 36 balls to muster seven runs but a delightful boundary off Brunt relieved the situation somewhat. Fifteen runs were required off the last two overs but Bradley hit Brunt for six, bringing the target down to nine from 11 balls. Another run out caused even more excitement but the whole affair was settled with two balls to spare when Bradley became the hero of the hour as he thick-edged to the boundary bringing his own personal tally to 23 not out and Nelson to 171-9.

Nelson played hosts to Rawtenstall on Saturday and came away with a very welcome 10 points.

Rawtenstall won the toss, elected to bat, and, at the half-way stage, were 58-1. Shahzaib Hasan, returning to the side following the death of his father, bowled tidily from one end without picking up any wickets up to that point whilst his opposite number, Steve Dearden, was beginning to settle into his stride. Waqas Tahir had bowled Andy Clough when the score was on 15 but 71 runs were on the board before another wicket fell. Neil Thompson got one to lift and Dearden pushed the ball straight back to him to be caught and bowled for 29. Sam Excell was the next to fall and, having faced 103 balls, he was bowled by Hasan for 18 in the 34th over.

Dan Barlow (4) and Ross Brown (0) were quickly dismissed but Matt Kershaw (24) and Rizwan Shafiq (12) put on 37 for the sixth wicket, halting Nelson’s advance towards bowling bonus points. Tahir returned to the attack and removed both batsmen but Peter Hanson stoutly defied any total collapse, finishing unbeaten on 13. Hasan took a wicket with the final ball of the innings to end with commendable figures of 3-51 from 25 overs. Tahir’s contribution was an effective 3-37 but Rawtenstall’s total of 138-8 had been boosted by 17 wides!

Nelson’s reply was painfully slow. After 15 overs the score was 30-0 but only 10 of those runs came from the bat. The rest were extras! Chris Willan was out in Keith Roscoe’s second over, lbw for three, after facing 61 balls whilst Shahzaib Hasan was lbw to Shah, also for three. Sean Lemon was beginning to find some form when he received a similar ball to Dearden and was caught and bowled for 19. Nelson were 49-3 in the 22nd over and a great deal depended on David Crotty and Neil Thompson. Neither disappointed and the pair put on 68 in 45 minutes with Thompson particularly aggressive. He played a crucial captain’s innings, hitting eight boundaries before chipping Clough to mid-on where he was caught for 41.

Crotty (31), with four boundaries, was still at the crease with Rizwan Hussain (six not out) when he hit the winning runs in the 43rd over.