Nelson slipped to two defeats against Bacup and Rishton in the first double-header weekend of the season.
Nelson’s home match with Bacup on Saturday was delayed by rain, resulting in the match becoming a 45-over affair, starting 33 minutes late.
Nelson won the toss and chose to bowl.
The Bacup openers, Highley and Collinge made 16 and 15 respectively as the score went to 50-2.
Toxy Hussain took the first two wickets to fall and, together with Kesh Maharaj, bowled very economically for a while.
Harrison Phelan relieved Kesh and snapped up the third wicket with Kesh changing ends. Tim Farragher dug in and took 41 balls to muster five runs.
His patience paid dividends as he added 26 in his next 30 balls. Haseeb Azam hit a six and two fours in a bright 25 but skipper Matthew Thompson changed the whole outlook of his side’s innings. In the space of 30 balls faced, he hammered two sixes and three fours as he plundered 43.
Bacup scored 48 runs in their final five overs, for a defendable total. The best of the Nelson bowlers, despite taking some punishment late on, was Toxy Hussain, who returned figures of 4-63.
Nelson’s target of 193 was intimidating enough, but, after 15 overs, prospects were even slimmer. Both openers, Lewis Bradley (9) and Russell Bradley (11), plus Hussain (0), were all back in the pavilion with only 39 runs on the board. Chris Heap (11) soon followed, though Maharaj gave some encouragement, hitting three boundaries in quick succession.
Neil Thompson suffered another dubious lbw decision and Kesh was bowled by his opposite number Azam for 20 as Nelson tottered to 71-6. The Nelson tail did put up a bit of a fight and Phelan was going well on 26 when he was unnecessarily run out. Mike Bradley, deputising for Khurrum Nazir, hit three consecutive fours before being caught in the deep for 21.
Nelson managed to scramble one bonus point as they reached 142 but Azam brought proceedings to a conclusion three runs later to finish with the amazing figures of 8-26.
Rishton, pointless in their opening two matches, recorded a seven-wicket victory over Nelson with 22 overs to spare on Sunday.
Rishton’s new professional, Kelly Smuts, only arrived in England on Thursday and dominated the match, taking 6-23 as Nelson were skittled for 111, and then slammed 67 off 68 balls.
There were few positives for Nelson to take, but Hussain regained some of his batting form with a praiseworthy 31, which included four fours. Thompson also hit 20, but only Russell Bradley (12) of the remaining batsmen made it into double figures.
Nelson’s total of 111 was never going to be enough, but the manner of their capitulating was disappointing.
The cold conditions certainly did not suit the spin of Kesh Maharaj and he was unable to pose much of a threat. He did take all three wickets to fall but his 13 overs went for 48 runs.
Smut hit seven fours and four sixes in bringing a premature end to the proceedings.
Nelson host Enfield at Seedhill tomorrow before a trip to Lowerhouse on Sunday.