NELSON had triple cause for celebration over the weekend.
On Friday they won their first Twenty20 group match against Burnley, before moving into the Worsley Cup quarter-finals the following day.
And Burnley were their victims again in the league on Sunday.
On a cold, blustery Saturday, Nelson progressed through to the last eight of the Worsley Cup when their tie against Rawtenstall finally got underway.
Rawtenstall won the toss and elected to take first use of a pitch which proved difficult to score on all afternoon.
Richard Meade gained a success in the very first over, trapping Andy Payne plum in front of the wicket. Andy Clough and Josh Rushmore added 22 in eight overs, but an unlikely bowling combination of Neil Thompson and David Crotty ripped the heart out of the Rawtenstall batting.
Meade had to leave the field with an hamstring injury, and Thompson replaced him in the attack and accounted for both Clough and Rushmore. Crotty took over from Waqas Tahir and immediated removed the visiting professional Anwar Ali for three, before bowling Jon Kerrigan.
Nelson’s own professional, Luke Woodcock, replaced Crotty and he, too, promptly grabbed a couple of wickets, putting Rawtenstall on 62-7.
Daniel Barlow and Rizwan Shafiq staged a mini-revival as they put on 40 runs for the eighth wicket.
The partnership was not broken until Khurrum Nazir was belatedly introduced into the attack in the 40th over. The delay in bringing Nazir on to bowl was a mystery, but he promptly took 2-4 in his two overs, helping to bring an end to the Rawtenstall innings on 105.
The Nelson innings got a good foundation, Stuart Lemon and Peter Dibb (pictured) putting on 45 for the first wicket. However, both were out in quick succession, Lemon going to a skyer off a full toss for 19, and Dibb being bowled by Ali for 18. Woodcock and Crotty then proceeded to put Nelson within sight of their target with a solid partnership of 43. Crotty was much the more fluent, but Woodcock nudged his way into double figures as Nelson reached 91.
Woodcock was stumped for 10 but Crotty hit six boundaries in an enterprising 32. With just four required for victory, Crotty was brilliantly caught in the covers, going for the winning hit. Nelson’s triumph was, however, sealed in the next over and a visit to Lowerhouse tomorrow in the second round was assured.
A very sparse crowd braved the elements to watch a quite enthralling derby at Seedhill on Sunday.
Persistent drizzle early in the day no doubt put many people off and the strong, cold westerly wind didn’t help matters either.
However, weather conditions improved and the game started 135 minutes late. It was declared a 32-over match and Nelson opted to bat first after winning the toss.
Once more, Lemon and Dibb gave Nelson a solid foundation, this time putting on 69 for the first wicket. Burnley’s bowlers laboured in vain until third change bowler, James Capstick came on to bowl.
Both opening batsmen were out to Capstick, Dibb going to a catch by Aidan Tate for 27 and then Lemon, a catch by Steve Brunt for 36.
Woodcock and Crotty added 27 in five overs, Woodcock bringing up the 100 with a six over mid-wicket. He was out for 15 next ball, trying a leg-sweep, but only succeeding in dragging the ball onto his stumps.
Crotty carried on until the expiry of the overs, hitting three fours and two sixes in a 37-ball 42 not out.
Lord came in hoping to keep the run-rate high but he was bowled by Capstick for a duck. Sean Lemon (16 not out), though, helped Crotty to add 47 in an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership which took only 18 minutes.
Burnley’s target was 151, and, despite losing openers Qasim Ali (9) and Andy Beet (8) to Woodcock, they kept a healthy run-rate going. Imad Wasim, professional, and Michael Kelly added 33 in 29 minutes before Kelly was lbw to Woodcock for 17. Skipper Brunt then helped his professional to add a further 49 in 32 minutes, putting Burnley in a very strong position.
Nelson had tried Neil Thompson, but he was so wayward, conceding 10 wides in his two overs, that he had to be withdrawn.
With six overs remaining, Burnley required 41 runs to win with seven wickets in hand, but two outstanding catches changed the course of the game. Woodcock had Brunt brilliantly caught by Nazir in the gully area for 23 and Stuart Lemon took an equally good catch in the deep to dismiss the dangerous Wasim off Lord’s for 39.
Woodcock claimed two more wickets to finish with an admirable return of 6-49 and Lord grabbed another wicket as Burnley chased an extra batting bonus point.
On Sunday Nelson are at champions Ramsbottom in the league.
On Friday, in the first Twenty20 match of the season, Nelson won by 14 runs, again at Seedhill.
Meade claimed 4-8 as Burnley were held to 86-9 in reply, after Nelson had totalled 100-7. Brunt took 3-8.