On a bitterly cold day at Seedhill on Sunday, Nelson and East Lancashire served up a most exciting cricket match.
The early part of both innings saw batsmen struggling for runs, but both sides entertained with some enterprising batting in the latter stages.
Nelson won the toss and put East Lancs into bat. Richard Meade and Sam Halstead opened the bowling and both grabbed early wickets to put the visitors on 18-2 from 8 overs. The visiting professional Matthew Klenveldt could have been caught and bowled by Meade before he had scored but the bowler could only get his finger-tips to the ball.
At the halfway stage, East Lancs were 60-3, Neil Thompson taking a wicket in his first over.
East Lancs only progressed by 13 runs in the next seven overs but John Turner and Klenveldt suddenly opened their shoulders, adding a further 71 in the next 10. Turner had hit five fours and a six in a 51-ball innings of 39 when he was caught at mid-wicket to give Toxy Hussain his first wicket.
Hussain bowled very well at the death and gave batsmen trouble with the balls he was able to keep low, and finished with best-ever figures of 5-43 – even claiming the prize wicket of Klenveldt, who had made 82 from 125 balls, hitting six fours and a six. East Lancs were on 182-8 at the close of their 50 overs.
Nelson opened their reply with Tyler McGladdery and professional Ryan Canning, but disaster soon struck. In the third over, Canning played a ball straight to mid-wicket and set for a run. It was never a run and McGladdery stood his ground, leaving Canning run out for a duck.
There were two interruptions for rain which resulted in Nelson having a revised target of 172 from 46 overs.
However, the Nelson batsmen struggled with Lewis Bradley going for 10 and McGladdery for 21. Nelson’s halfway score was 63-3 but Russell Bradley and Neil Thompson put on 44 to give the homesters some hope.
When Bradley was out for 24, a sudden clutch of wickets fell, the score going from 91 -3 to 116- 8.
Thompson was playing a sterling captain’s innings and he found a steady partner in Lewis Hillman. They passed the 50 partnership and Thompson made his highest-ever Lancashire League score. Nelson needed seven runs to win off the last over and this was whittled down to two off the final ball with Thompson facing.
Thompson tried to play the ball into the gap behind square-leg but was bowled round his legs, giving East Lancs victory by a run. Thompson had five fours in his valiant innings of 72.
Nelson have a double header next week-end with a trip to Rawtenstall on Sunday after a visit by Ramsbottom to Seedhill tomorrow.
• Nelson seconds lost by five wickets to East Lancashire, after being bowled out for 133.
Tomorrow they travel to Ramsbottom, before hosting Rawtenstall at Seedhill, wickets pitched at 1 p.m. both days.
On Tuesday, Nelson’s Under 13s full side are at East Lancashire, and on Wednesday, the Under 15s are at Ramsbottom. On Thursday, the Under 13s A are at Todmorden in cup action, and next Friday, the Under 13s B are at home to Rawtenstall, all at 6-15 p.m.