Two defeats for Nelson in cricket double-header

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Nelson slipped to two defeats in their Lancashire League double header.

Nelson visited Church on Saturday, with high hopes of overtaking them in the league table.

Nelson won the toss and made a reasonable start, bringing up the 50 in the 13th over for the loss of Russell Bradley. Bradley had opened in the absence of brother Lewis and made 15 before giving Andrew Bentley a simple return catch at 30.

The introduction of professional Usman Tariq into the attack caused immediate problems and Toxy Hussain was caught at cover for 10. Tyler McGladdery (21) spent a couple of uncomfortable overs against Tariq before giving him his second wicket with a catch to mid­off.

Neil Thompson (5) and Harrison Phelan (1) fell to Bentley, and Syed Shah was caught a slip off Tariq for a duck as Nelson staggered to 82-6. Nick Burton hit two good boundaries but was caught on the edge going for another. He had shared a stand of 25 with professional Ryan Canning who, for the second match running, was running out of partners.

Sam Halstead and Elliott Bradley were both out for ducks, the latter for an 18-ball duck as he tried to stay at the crease whilst Canning gradually accumulated runs. The last wicket partnership was more fruitful as Uzair Khalid (9) and Canning added 25. Canning was just getting into his stride, but was left unbeaten on 46.

Facing a target of 144, Church raced to 40 without loss in nine overs but Halstead, having changed ends, picked up the wicket of Tariq, caught in the gully for 7.

Four overs later, Levi Wolfenden was smartly caught behind for 29. Halstead soon had his third and fourth wickets as Harvey Aspin was caught at square­leg for 9 and Lloyd Aspin went to a brilliant catch by Thompson at point for 35. When Sam Holt was out to a superb, diving catch at mid­on by young Elliott Bradley, Church were 92-5.

Nelson were cock­a­hoop soon afterwards as it seemed Andrew Greenwood got a thick inside edge to a delivery from Halstead and Russell Bradley made a terrific catch. The umpire, however, saw it differently and Greenwood escaped to go on to make a match­winning 35 not out. Although leg­spinner, Uzair Khalid, was given a bowl at the end and took a couple of wickets, Church sauntered to athree-wicket win.

At Seedhill on Sunday against Lowerhouse, Nelson won the toss and elected to bat but probably wished they hadn’t! Within six overs, they were 6-3 with McGladdery (5), Russell Bradley (0) and Hussain (0) all back in the pavilion, with opening bowler Joe Hawke on 3-4 at this point.

Canning and Lewis Bradley stopped the rot temporarily until Canning was caught behind for 5 after facing 35 balls. Bradley top scored with 16 but another surge of wickets brought Nelson to their knees.

Matt Walker was brought into the attack and soon snapped up Canning’s wicket, followed by the wickets of Thompson (7) and Bradley, both clean bowled.

Professional Cobus Pienaar chipped in with the wicket of Shah (6) before Walker grabbed two wickets in an over. Phelan was caught behind for 5 and Halstead bowled for 1 as Walker’s figures went to 5-10. Walker wasn’t finished though and it didn’t take long to knock over Khalid’s stumps in his next over. His 6-10 was his best-ever return.

Nelson’s total was a paltry 67 and, in reply, Jonathan Finch and Jonny Whitehead both hit a couple of fours as the score sped to 20 from two overs.

Hussain had Whitehead caught at slip for 13 and when Khalid bowled Finch, also for 13, Nelson’s prospects suddenly improved.

Pienaar, however, blasted three fours and a six in a 27­-ball 21 and Ben Heap was undefeated on 8 as the winning runs were scored in the 17th over.

Nelson are at Accrington on Sunday.