Thompson inspires Nelson to thrilling victory at East Lancs

Skipper Neil Thompson finished unbeaten on 32 after taking 5-46
Skipper Neil Thompson finished unbeaten on 32 after taking 5-46

Nelson pulled off a thrilling victory at East Lancashire on Sunday with three balls to spare.

The weather at Alexandra Meadows was abysmal - cold and wet - but the cricket served up was exciting.

The match began a hour late with the overs reduced to 42. A stoppage for rain reduced the overs further to 39. Nelson had won the toss and, with one eye on the weather, put East Lancs in to bat.

Sam Halstead and Richard Meade opened the bowling but laboured in vain as Mohammed Bhada and Dan Lord put on 44 in 10 overs. Neil Thompson brought himself on to bowl and, with his first two deliveries, transformed the innings. Firstly, Lord was adjudged lbw for 30 and then professional Matthew Kleinveldt was caught low down at slip by Joe Scuderi. Toxy Hussain joined Thompson in the attack, and, in difficult conditions, curtailed the run-rate somewhat.

Bhada was run out for 30 but very few batsmen settled afterwards. Chris Riley was the exception as he compiled a useful 38 before being well held at mid-on by Tyler McGladdery off Thompson’s bowling. Thompson also took the wickets of David Pearson (bowled for five) and Nick Turner (well caught by debutant Nick Burton for eight) as he finished with 5-46. Hussain gave good support with figures of 4-53 as East Lancs were all out for 145.

Nelson did not get off to the best of starts with Lewis Bradley caught at slip for one and McGladdery given out lbw for nine. Hussain came in at number three and was swiftly joined by professional Ryan Canning. In 15 overs, the pair put together a stand of 45, but another rain shower reduced the overs yet again. The target had become 129 from 33 overs.

Only 10 overs remained with 66 more runs required as Thompson joined the fray, Hussain having been bowled by Mini Bhada for 20.

With the ropes guarded by the maximum of five fielders, Nelson found boundaries hard to come by. However, good running brought twos and quick singles, bringing the target ever closer - 23 runs were still needed from the last three overs and then 10 off the final one. Canning relieved the pressure by hitting the first ball for six and followed that with a couple of twos to win the match with three balls to spare.

Canning was obviously delighted to see Nelson home, and quite rightly so. He finished on 61 not out and his partnership with Thompson was worth 70. Thompson, himself, will be satisfied with his contribution to the victory too as he was undefeated on 32 at the end.

This weekend sees a double dose of derby matches as Nelson visit Burnley tomorrow and travel to Colne on Sunday.