DETERMINED Nelson skipper Neil Thompson is sure his Seedhillites will turn the corner after their shocking start to the Foster’s Lancashire League campaign – and hopes that the Joe Scuderi factor can help them upset the odds tomorrow when they face another massive test.
The 45-year-old Scuderi comes out of retirement and into Thompson’s side for the Seedhill showdown with fancied Church as Nelson aim for a turn of fortune at the start of May after an April to forget.
Nelson and Burnley are the only two teams yet to register a win and Thompson hopes the appearance of the record breaking Australian can lift spirits.
“It’s not been the start we were looking for, that’s fair to say,” admitted Thompson. “We are a very young side with not much in the way of experience and we lost another five or six key players over the winter.
“Not many sides can cope with that and we, like a lot of other clubs, haven’t got the strength in depth.
“Joe will bring a lot to the team and will be a great help, not only to the young lads but also to me as captain.
“Some people will say that we should be putting a lad from the seconds in but that can be counter productive.
“The Lancashire League is unforgiving and a lot of our second teamers are either too young or just not ready for first team cricket.
“I know we have brought young lads like Harrison Phelan, Tyler McGladdery and Lewis Hillman into the side but they were ready – but I believe that you can put people in too soon and ruin them.
“So picking Joe is the right way to go.”
Former Lancashire man Scuderi certainly adds experience to Thompson’s outfit.
The former Queensland and South Australia star, who many seasoned watchers in Australia believe was unlucky never to pull on a Green Baggy Cap, is one of the modern day greats of league cricket.
Since first arriving as Nelson professional in 1991 he has piled up more than 15,000 runs and claimed close on 700 wickets.
Nelson could do with a little bit of the old magic when they take to the field against a Church side Thompson rates highly.
“I thought at the start of the season they would be right up there,” he said. “They bat and bowl well and there’s no doubt it’s a big test for us.
“We want to get that first win on the board as soon as possible because the longer it goes on the worse it feels.”
Nelson were denied on the opening day against East Lancashire after Thompson took them to the brink of an incredible win in a rain affected match before they were crushed by a Ramsbottom side who hit form last Saturday.
And their tale of woe continued last Sunday when a Brett Pelser-inspired Rawtenstall beat them at the Worswick Memorial Ground.
But Thompson can see the positives, even though he want his young troops to learn the art of consistency.
“In all three games we have done bits right and bits wrong and we need to put it all together in a game,” said Thompson.
“Last week at Rawtenstall the lower order batsmen stepped up to the mark and got us a decent target on the board – but then you run into a pro who was on fire in Brett Pelser and you don’t stand a chance.
“He got six wickets and then scored a superb ton – and there are very few answers to that.
“But we are learning as a team. I am one of the most experienced members of it and the third eldest at 26 so that shows where we are – and hopefully we will grow into a good team.”