THE rain completely washed out Saturday’s Worsley Cup clash between Nelson and Accrington, but stayed away long enough for five and a half hours of cricket on Sunday.
However, a heavy downpour curtailed Nelson’s innings as they chased 136 runs for victory.
Saturday’s match will be re-scheduled for tomorrow, but Sunday’s match ended in a win for Church on run-rate.
Church won the toss and elected to bat and it was soon realised that it was a tricky wicket to bat on. After 11 overs, Church were 10-1, Levi Wolfenden having been bowled by Shahzaib Hasan for two.
The Nelson bowling attack was missing the regular opener, Richard Meade, who was ill, and Waqas Tahir had to be withdrawn from the attack after pulling a back muscle after only four overs, but Nelson kept the shackles on until the Church professional, Saeed Anwar decided the best form of defence was attack.
He hit Neil Thompson for a four and a six off successive deliveries but, two balls later, he chanced his arm again, got a top edge, and was caught at point for 11.
Church’s skipper, Craig Fergusson, played a patient innings in giving his side a solid foundation. It wasn’t pretty to watch but it was crucial for the team. His first boundary did not come until the 22nd over. Lloyd Aspin gave his captain good support as they put on 44 for the third wicket but a bowling change proved to be his undoing. Toqir Hussain, with his third ball, had Aspin caught behind for 23.
Shahzaib Hasan had several lbw claims turned down but he was eventually successful as he trapped Andrew Bentley in front for 11. Hussain collected two more wickets by bowling Muhammad Jamil (2) and Sam Tucker (15) before Hasan finally removed the stubborn Fergusson. Fergusson received 153 balls in compiling 48, hitting just four to the boundary.
In the quest for quick runs in the final few overs, Church collapsed from 122-5 to 135 all out, thanks largely to two run outs.
The Nelson innings got off to a terrible start with Sean Lemon (7) and Chris Willan (5) both falling to the wily Saeed Anwar.
Shahzaib Hasan and David Crotty tried to recover the situation but Nelson’s hopes sank when Hasan was given out lbw for 23, Anwar again the bowler. Neil Thompson joined Crotty in what turned out to be Nelson’s best stand, adding 35 for the 4th wicket. The Nelson batsmen were finding runs hard to come by and, by the 32nd over, were some 20 runs behind the run rate.
Thompson, having made 15, was, at that point, given out lbw and Crotty soon followed, stumped for 22. If the main batsmen found it difficult to score runs, the lower order found it almost impossible. In the space of nine overs, Nelson went from 82-3 to 87-7.
Lewis Bradley and Chris Heap scampered a few more runs before the downpour, which cut Nelson’s innings by seven overs, arrived. No further play was possible and a revised target of 118 left Nelson 27 runs short. They had to be satisfied with three batting bonus points to go with the two bowling points.
As already mentioned, Nelson host Accrington in the cup tomorrow with an away league fixture at Haslingden on Sunday.