South African Devon Conway was in a list of potential paid men offered to Clitheroe ahead of the club’s maiden Lancashire League campaign.
The 25-year-old was high up on Paul Gaskell’s wishlist when the Chatburn Road captain had flicked through the catalogue of professionals.
However, due to stiff competition, the Gauteng Province and The Lions Franchise representative was overlooked and stand-out candidate Fawad Alam was selected.
Conway ensured the Ribble Valley outfit rued their decision, punishing their rejection with an unbeaten knock of 131 in Nelson’s 89-run victory.
And it was unfamiliar territory for Clitheroe who lost consecutive games for the first time in years.
Conway, who has racked up 4700 First-class runs at an average of 40.51 and has chipped in with 15 wickets with his off spin bowling, hit 13 fours and three sixes as the visitors made 217-6.
Sam Halstead was the pick of the home side’s bowlers, registering figures of 3-61.
Clitheroe uncharacteristically crumbled in the reply with the ‘extras’ column boasting the best figures with 34 while Peter Dibb added 25 not out.
“It wasn’t great,” said Gaskell. “They deserve a lot of credit. The pro was a really good player.
“We had half a chance to get him early doors but we didn’t take it. He capitalised on that and looked a million dollars.
“We were actually offered him ahead of the new season but we looked elsewhere. That came back to bite us.
“We looked at the statistics and went down the route of what we’ve got now. Our pro’s figures say it all.
“He was on a list of names given to us just before Christmas time. He definitely stood out but we didn’t go for him.
“It was a difficult day all round for everybody. Nobody really fired which was disappointing. It was our biggest defeat for a while.
“We haven’t lost two games on the bounce for a long time either. Credit to Nelson, though, because they were better in every department on the day.
“I think that may have woken one or two people up in the dressing room. It’s up to us to respond at the weekend now.”
Clitheroe take on Nelson in the final Pride of Pendle Group game of the Twenty20 competition on Friday at Seedhill.
They then travel to Rawtenstall in the league on Saturday before hosting Longridge in the LCB Knockout Cup on Sunday.
“If we have a good weekend then everything is forgotten about,” Gaskell said. “We know what has gone wrong and we’ll work even harder to improve on that. I would expect there to be a reaction.
“Two defeats would mean nothing then. We’ve lost two games but we’re only seven points off the top so it’s not all doom and gloom.”