NELSON fell to defeat against Todmorden on Sunday as the Thwaites Wainwright Lancashire League season started with warm sunshine and a cloudless sky for the first time in living memory!
A large crowd at Seedhill saw Thomas Lord’s men go down by 32 runs.
Todmorden won the toss and elected to bat first on a good-looking pitch, but Nelson had the better of the early exchanges.
Sam Halstead, twice, and Richard Meade were successful in claiming wickets in the first seven overs at a cost of 25 runs.
Nick Barker and Andy Sutcliffe steadied the boat for Todmorden, but Nelson suffered a major setback when Halstead had to leave the field with a pulled hamstring.
Nelson’s sub-pro Glen Batticciotto replaced Halstead, and, after Meade had removed Sutcliffe, he had Matthew Brierley caught behind, making Todmorden 51-5.
Nick and Stevie Barker put on 29 for the sixth wicket, before Khurrum Nazir had the latter caught behind for 17.
Toqir Hussain claimed a couple of wickets in a tidy spell, but no bowler could contain Nick Barker, who went on to make a match-winning 62 before being run out in the 48th over.
Nelson needed 148 to win, but probably didn’t anticipate the difficulty they would have in scoring runs off the bowling of Qaiser Abbass, the Todmorden professional.
At one stage he bowled nine consecutive maidens and only conceded eight runs from his first 18 overs.
The first two wickets to fall actually went to Stevie Barker, who had stand-in opener Russell Bradley lbw and immediately afterwards had Batticciotto caught at point for a duck.
Abbass completely mesmerised the Nelson batsmen, although he and his team-mates were guilty of excessive appealing.
David Crotty and Neil Thompson were both given out lbw, before Sean Lemon was clean bowled.
Stuart Lemon did put up some resistance until he was caught off the bowling of Lee Pearson for 24.
Lord hit a six but he was soon out, caught off a skyer for eight.
Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals until Nelson found themselves in a hopeless situation at 92-9.
Halstead came to the wicket with a runner and bravely defended as Meade gallantly tried to score runs at the other end.
An extra 23 runs were added for the last wicket, gaining two batting points to go with the two bowling points.
Meade was finally out to a dubious lbw decision for 30 valiant runs.
Skipper Lord said: “It was a tale of two pros really, we got done by their pro, and Glen was out for a duck after hitting three tons for us previously.
“At halfway we were the better side, we bowled and fielded fantastically well, and even when Sam was injured, yoiung Lewis Hillman filled in well.
“Khurrum’s spell of spin was as good as I’ve seen down here, with a lot of variation, but we came up short in the end.”
Nelson are at Enfield tomorrow, before a trip to Lowerhouse on Sunday, and he added: “If we play to our capabilities, we can win both games.”
Nelson are set to field USA international Adrian Gordon tomorrow as their sub-professional and hope to unveil a replacement for Burton De Wett imminently.
Gordon, who stands at 5ft 7ins, is a deceptively quick bowler, who impressed in a trial earlier this week.
• Nelson seconds beat Todmorden by 78 runs on Sunday.
Nelson scored 263-6, with a superb century from James Lickess, who finished with 132, and 55 from Chris Heap.
Todmorden, in reply, were restricted to 185-8, as S. Eardley took three wickets, and 15-year-old Elliott Bradley chipped in wth two.