NELSON finished a respectable sixth in the Lancashire League after a win and a defeat on the final weekend.
The home fixture against Rawtenstall was finally decided on Saturday at the third attempt. Rain delayed the start by 15 minutes and a 48-over match was declared.
Nelson won the toss and put Rawtenstall in to bat, with showers expected throughout the afternoon.
Sam Halstead and Richard Meade made the visitors fight hard for their runs, and the first boundary was not struck until the seventh over when Jon Kerrigan hit Halstead for two fours. Kerrigan was dismissed in Halstead’s next over though, when he nicked one to Sean Lemon behind the stumps. Andrew Clough did not survive long and was caught behind too off Meade’s bowling.
Meade was jubilant soon afterwards when Nilantha Cooray, Rawtenstall’s professional, edged one to second slip where Halstead hung on to a catch.
Matthew Kershaw and Rizwan Shafiq kept Nelson at bay for the next 10 overs as 25 runs were added, but Kershaw’s marathon innings ended when Halstead took another catch at second slip to give Meade his third wicket. Kershaw had faced 82 balls in compiling 19 runs. Nawaz became Meade’s fourth victim of the day and 50th of the season when he was trapped lbw first ball.
Nelson’s substitute professional Raheel Majeed relieved Halstead, and, bowling leg-breaks, soon gained success as he bowled Shafiq for 12. Khurrum Nazir also came into the attack and bowled Peter Hanson with his first delivery.
Majeed had Egan and Hornsby both caught for six before bowling Khan for four. Rawtenstall were all out for 85 with Majeed finishing with 4-21.
Majeed opened Nelson’s innings with Stuart Lemon and after four overs the score was 33 without loss, as wides accounted for 13 runs! The first wicket fell at 37 when Majeed was bowled by Shafiq for 16, and Roscoe came on to bowl, tying one end up. He had Lemon adjudged lbw for seven. David Crotty did hit him for one straight six which took him past 500 for the season, but the veteran gained some revenge by bowling him for 14.
Neil Thompson (18) and Peter Dibb (11) made sure there were no further set-backs and, in pouring rain, saw Nelson home with more than half the overs to spare.
On another cold, blustery day on Sunday, however,, Nelson’s season ended with a disappointing defeat at the hands of lowly Rishton.
A damp pitch caused a delay to the start of the match and it became a 46-over affair. Nelson won the toss and again put the opposition in to bat, but Abdul Bisoodwall clouted two sixes off Sam Halstead’s first over, as Suwanji Madanayake replaced him in the attack.
Bisoodwall, with those two sixes plus another two fours, had 22 runs to his name inside 15 minutes, but an edged square-cut off Meade was well held by Nazir in the slips. Rishton’s sub-pro, Chris Holt, was in similar mood and took two sixes and two fours off Meade. Nazir replaced Meade and had Holt caught at slip by Stuart Lemon with his first delivery. Nazir also dismissed Mark Leathert in identical fashion whilst Madanayake bowled Shaun Wyse, Mo Patel and Luke McVarish, putting Rishton on 80-6 from 21 overs.
Jimmy Bibby and Scott Greaves added 36 runs for the seventh wicket before Thompson bowled Bibby for 23. Shaun Hutchinson was farcically run out for seven, Garth Wyse was bowled by Madanayake for one and Ali Sartaj caught by Lord off the bowling of Thompson for four as Rishton’s innings ended in a sudden rush of wickets. Greaves was undefeated with 27 as he helped to raise the total to 143.
Madanayake,bowling slow left-arm spin in unhelpful conditions, had creditable figures of 4-57 from 21 overs.
Rishton’s opening bowling attack comprised two slow left-arm bowlers, Holt and 17-year-old starlet, Ali Sartaj.
Stuart Lemon and Thompson coped well, initially, and 39 runs were on the board by the 10th over. Thompson was then caught in the slips for 11 off Holt, who immediately changed ends and began to cause all sorts of problems. It was Greaves, though, who took the next wicket, having Lemon caught in the gully. Lemon had hit two sixes and six fours in an excellent 41 which took him to 614 runs for the season - a personal best!
Madanayake had only made five when he pushed a ball to point and set off for a run. Crotty, quite rightly, sent him back but it was too late and he was run out.
Sartaj, having changed ends, really put Nelson on the back foot, taking a caught and bowled to dismiss Dibb for a duck and then bowling Sean Lemon for 1. Chris Heap helped Crotty to steady the boat until 50 runs were required from 16 overs. However, Sartaj bowled Crotty for 23 and then Holt had Nazir lbw for one, followed by Lord caught and bowled for a duck. Heap was battling confidently until he was adjudged lbw for 14. Meade hit two fours and a six before being last out for 21, 12 runs short.