THERE was only a meagre crowd at Seedhill on Bank-holiday Monday to watch the local derby match between Nelson and Colne despite the sunny weather.
Nelson won the toss – for a change – and decided to bat first, opening with Sean Lemon and Lewis Bradley.
Within six overs, both were back in the pavilion - Lemon bowled by the Colne professional, Shadley van Schalkwyk for one and Bradley caught behind off the bowling of Khurrum Nazir for four. Nelson’s professional, Shahzaib Hasan, was dropped by Nazir in the slips when he was only eight and the score should have been 21-3.
Hasan and David Crotty didn’t hang around. Both put bat to ball with real purpose and the runs piled up quickly. Their partnership was worth 83 by the time they were parted 16 overs later. Crotty hit 5 boundaries in a score of 35 before he was caught behind to give Schalkwyk his second wicket. The South African triumphed again when he had his opposite number given out lbw but not before Hasan had registered his first Lancashire League half-century. Hasan had hit 3 sixes and 3 fours in his 55.
Although Neil Thompson mustered 21, Nelson’s middle order struggled against the bowling of Schalkwyk and Tayyib Jamil, the score advancing by only 26 in 13 overs. Nazir returned to the attack and he too was difficult to score from. He also grabbed the wicket of Rizwan Hussain who was caught in the covers for 5. Jamil, whose first 11 overs were economical but fruitless, suddenly struck gold, taking the wickets of Thompson, Russell Bradley (1) and Richard Meade (1) in successive overs.
Chris Heap, undefeated on 12, and Toqir Hussain (11), pushed and scampered singles to add 28 for the ninth wicket but Nazir came on to bowl the last over and promptly dismissed Hussain and Waqas Tahir to finish with 4 for 40.
The Colne opening batsmen, Justin Nutter and Lewis Rimmer, did not fare much better than the Nelson openers, as both were back in the pavilion with only 17 runs on the board. Nutter was lbw to Hasan for 8 and Rimmer was run out in chaotic fashion for 6. Colne were soon in deeper trouble as Nathan Whitehead slapped a ball from Richard Meade straight to Sean Lemon in the gully where he was caught for 4 and Matt Wilson was bowled by Meade (pictured) for 12.
Schalkwyk fought a rear-guard action as he defended his wicket but no-one could stay with him. Nazir (5) was lbw to Meade and Jamil (2) easily caught by Thompson at point, also off Meade. Three wickets then fell in double quick time to Hasan as Sam Tillotson and Bradley Ramshead were both bowled for ducks and Matthew Walker was lbw for 1. With the score on 77 for 9, Schalkwyk decided to have some fun and 2 fours and a six were added to his tally of 4 fours as he boosted his total to 41. He was eventually caught at fly-slip to give Hasan five wickets. Hasan (5 for 46) and Meade (4 for 46) bowled unchanged throughout the innings.
Nelson have another double header this coming week-end, at home to Accrington in the Worsley Cup on Saturday followed by a home league fixture with Church on Sunday.