In was perfect cricket weather on Saturday, Nelson beat East Lancashire to win a Worsley Cup semi-final tie with Accrington.
Nelson won the toss and batted first but lost Lewis Bradley as he defended a rising ball from Juan-Paul de Villiers and was caught at short squareleg for 8.
Russell Bradley and Harrison Phelan put on 82 in the space of 17 overs, giving Nelson the base to build a big score.
Russell’s 50 came off 44 balls and included seven fours, but his next big shot was lofted to longoff where he was caught on 53.
Phelan beat his own personal best score for the first XI and went on to register his maiden halfcentury off 80 deliveries. His was the third wicket to fall when, with the score on 174, he edged a ball from Ben Westhead to wicketkeeper James Westhead. Phelan had made 79 off 108 balls and hit 10 fours.
Nelson’s substitute professional, Eldred Hawkin, was caught at slip for 3 and skipper Neil Thompson ran himself out for 1, but Khurrum Nazir stayed with Toxy Hussain as another substantial partnership developed.
Hussain reached his own 50 off 65 balls after hitting six fours and a six, and Nazir was also well on his way to 50 but ran out of time. He made an undefeated 39 with the aid of five fours and faced 42 balls.
Nelson’s total of 269-8 was always going to be difficult to chase down and East Lancashire lost wickets too early to mount a serious challenge.
Half their side were out for 62 inside 18 overs and only professional de Villiers made any headway. Hawkin grabbed a couple of wickets in his opening spell, and Sam Halstead took one. Hawkin should have had three wickets as his very first ball produced a catch for the wicketkeeper but it was grounded.
Thompson immediately put pressure on East Lancs by taking two more wickets.
De Villiers was the only batsman to cope and he hit four sixes and two fours in a 69-ball 60. Thompson came away with 5-22 for the fifth collection of the day.
A sixth collection was almost earned by Russell Bradley, who took four catches.
Nelson bowled East Lancs. out for 148, gaining victory by 121 runs and will now host Accrington at Seedhill on Sunday, July 12th.
On Sunday, Nelson entertained Ramsbottom at Seedhill on Sunday but lost a very one-sided match.
The visitors won the toss and batted first, but after only one over, a short but heavy shower sent the players scurrying to the pavilion.
Play resumed after 17 minutes, reducing the match to a 48-over affair.
Lewis Hillman forced Tom Parton to clip a cut into Nazir’s hands at gully. and Richard Rothwell was lbw to Halstead for 7.
But Callum Kay and professional Daryn Smit started to pummel the Nelson bowling. Halstead took a brilliant catch at slip to dismiss Kay for 21 but Nelson’s fielding was generally below par. Toxy Hussain, Chris Heap and Mick Bradley all dropped simple catches, allowing Ramsbottom to score more runs than they should.
Substitute professional Keegan Petersen was an exception, and a terrific direct throw from midwicket ran out Martin Cropper for 11. Smit went on to face 122 balls and hit seven fours and a six in his 86 before being out in the 46th over. Ramsbottom’s last 50 runs came in the final seven overs with Jon Fielding undefeated on 33.
Nelson needed 202 to win but were never in the hunt. Russell Bradley was bowled by Mick Haslam for 8 and Lewis Bradley was caught at slip off the same bowler for 13. Phelan also went for 13, the highest score by an amateur in the Nelson innings. Hussain, Thompson and Nazir all perished for 7. Petersen managed to keep his end intact until he was last out for 42 with Nelson still 87 runs short.
Nelson visit Enfield tomorrow.