NELSON enjoyed a win double at the weekend as a club legend stepped into the breach.
At Rawtenstall on Saturday, professional, Shahzaib Hasan, was missing from the line-up due to the illness of his wife. She was admitted to hospital in the early hours of Saturday morning and club officials searched frantically for a substitute professional.
Veteran Joe Scuderi was persuaded to stand in and he didn’t disappoint.
It was a bitterly cold day but at least a 50-over match was played.
Nelson even won the toss for a change and decided to bat first.
James Lickess and Tom Bradshaw opened but Lickess was soon back in the pavilion, having been caught at slip for one. Scuderi’s time at the crease was also short-lived as he clipped a delivery from his opposite number, Jandre Coetzee, to square-leg, where he was caught for one.
David Crotty soon settled and was going well on 38 when he set off for a quick single which his partner, Bradshaw, thought wasn’t there.
Their promising partnership of 70, scored in 53 minutes, was ended with Crotty’s run out. Another valuable stand followed between Bradshaw and Neil Thompson as they added 81 in 55 minutes for the fourth wicket.
Both batsmen completed personal fifties; in Bradshaw’s case it was his first senior fifty and was scored in 117 minutes off 99 balls and contained 10 fours. Thompson took only 68 deliveries to reach his 50, hitting six fours and a six. Both batsmen were caught as they tried to increase the run-rate in the final overs. Since his promotion to the first XI, Bradshaw has shown the temperament to succeed and his future looks very promising.
Upon the dismissal of Thompson, Nelson stood on 170 -5 with nine overs remaining. The latter batsmen, however, were unable to maintain the momentum and the last five wickets fell for the addition of only 23 runs, with an over and a half unused.
The Rawtenstall reply began at snail pace with only nine runs coming from the first nine overs. Richard Meade bowled with pace and found a spot, just short of a length, which caused all batsmen problems. He picked up the first two wickets to fall, having Peter Hanson caught behind and then Matthew Kershaw was caught in the gully by Scuderi.
Thompson opened the bowling at the other end and, although wicketless, he kept the batsmen quiet. Even by the 30th over, Rawtenstall had only progressed to 74 -2.
Scuderi relieved Thompson and he had Daniel Barlow, who top scored with 32, caught at the second attempt by Lickess at mid-on. Scuderi was even more delighted when he trapped Coetzee plum in front, first ball.
Toqir Hussain replaced the tiring meade and promptly picked up the wickets of Connor Glover (20) and Ross Brown (2). He later bowled Sam Excell to put Rawtenstall on 93-7 with 11 overs left.
Crotty was given a rare chance to shine with the ball and he took it, returning figures of 3-14 as the tail folded, giving Nelson victory by 68 runs.
The following day, Nelson climbed one place up the Lancashire League table after another emphatic victory thanks to several good performances from their amateurs. Lickess, Bradshaw and Crotty starred with the bat whilst Thompson produced his best bowling figures of the season as visitors lost by 76 runs.
Nelson won the toss and decided to bat and made Bacup wait until the 22nd over to achieve their first success. Lickess and Bradshaw put on 48 for the first wicket but Bacup’s sub-pro., Sean de Kock, split them, having Lickess lbw for 20. Nelson’s sub-pro., Cobus Pienaar, glanced a four but was then bowled by de Kock. Bradshaw made a very good 33 but was then run out - a disappointing end to a promising innings. When Thompson was lbw for three, Nelson were in a little bit of trouble at 73-4.
Crotty and Sean Lemon, however, steadied the innings and put on 54 for the fifth wicket. With just over six overs left, Lemon danced down the wicket to de Kock and was stumped for 17. Russell Bradley was lbw to Lord for a duck but brother Lewis had more success, hitting a couple of boundaries in a quick-fire, undefeated 19. Meanwhile, Crotty completed his first fifty of the season in the penultimate over after hitting five fours and one six. He was out though, caught on the boundary for 51, in the final over which also claimed the wickets of Meade and Chris Heap, both run out without facing a ball.
Bacup, chasing 165 for victory, made a disastrous start as James Cunliffe was lbw to Pienaar in the first over. Adam Highley soon followed, bowled by Pienaar for five and when Meade took a smart return catch to dismiss de Kock for 25, it took the heart out of Bacup’s reply. Pienaar collected his third wicket, bowling Tim Farragher for 10, putting Bacup on 41-4 from 17 overs. Henry Butcher and Joe McCluskie held Nelson at bay for 12 overs before Thompson had Butcher caught, at the second attempt, at mid-off by Pienaar. Steve Ball was run out for 0 before Thompson collected two more quick wickets and Toqir Hussain grabbed one. McCluskie was last man out but he will feel hard done by. He struck the ball well enough but Lewis Bradley sprinted almost 30 yards on the mid-wicket boundary before diving to take a most spectacular catch, giving Thompson the splendid figures of 4-19.
This weekend sees Nelson with two away fixtures; travelling to East Lancashire tomorrow before the long trip to Ramsbottom on Sunday.