A pair of fine wins for Rasen’s 1st XIs

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A good weekend for Rasen’s Saturday and Sunday 1st XIs saw them notch up a pair of fine wins.

The 1st XI ran out convincing winners over Alkborough 2nds on Saturday, triumphing by 76 runs and the Sunday 1st XI won a high-scoring contest at Nettleham by 13 runs.

Rasen’s 2nd XIs were less fortunate however, with the 2nd XI losing by three wickets at Hykeham after posting a competitive 204 all out and the Sunday 2nd XI losing by 90 runs.

The start of play on Saturday saw Rase Park bathed in glorious sunshine as the 1st XI took on Alkborough 2nds. Batting first, Rasen’s top order suffered a rare collective failure, with only Jon Stephenson, 29, making any real impact on the visitors’ attack.

It was left to Gary Bierlein to pick up the pieces of Rasen’s innings and he eagerly took up the challenge to compile 46 not out.

Batting with an assurance that belied a perilous position of 72 for 5 when he came to the crease, Bierlein shepherded the middle order to an imposing 198 for 7.

He received fine assistance from Darren Salmon, 32, with whom he put on 79 for the sixth wicket, as well as Will Bradford and some explosive late hitting from Mark Robinson, 28, who launched two enormous sixes as Rasen pushed on toward the end of their innings.

Richard Kirman was the pick of the Alkborough attack, getting through 18 overs to take 2 for 48.

Graeme Bell and Simon Bunn took the new ball for Rasen and immediately hit their straps, keeping Alkborough’s batsmen tied down and putting pressure on the visitors.

While Graeme Humphrey, 56, was at the crease the chances of an upset was still on the cards for the visitors, but once Gary Bierlein removed him Rasen ran through the rest of the Alkborough line-up, with the notable exception of a pugnacious 36 from Paul Mitchell.

Bell was brought back to clean up the tail and did so clinically to finish with 4 for 28, but Rasen’s performance in the field was good all round, with Gary Bierlein taking 3 for 27, Karl Bierlein 2 for 34 and Simon Bunn 1 for 28 as Alkborough were dismissed for 122 in the 37th over.

The 2nd XI batted first at Hykeham 2nds on Saturday and posted a decent total of 204 all out, thanks to a fine 70 from Rob Chamberlin.

Scoring at better than a run a ball, Chamberlin’s mature knock saw him take apart the Hykeham attack with relish. He received excellent support from Ivan Nash, 48, Simon Atkinson, 32, and Richard Limmer, 22.

In the field, Rasen failed to click with the ball, with Hykeham able to score freely from the off and while the young side worked tirelessly and took their chances when they came, the bowlers simply didn’t deliver.

Seb Darke, 1 for 45, and Andy Richley, 3 for 40 from 12 overs, were the pick of the attack on a day they’ll want to forget as Hykeham strolled over the line in the 40th over to win by three wickets.

The Sunday 1st XI overcame the early loss of their openers to post an intimidating 219 for 5 at Mulsanne Park in their Lincoln League Premier Division game against Nettleham.

The champions were on the ropes at 32 for 2, but excellent rebuilding work from Matt Rutherford and Laurence Scott saw Rasen put themselves into a commanding position, which Dale Christie then capitalised on with a brutal innings to take Rasen to their total.

Nettleham battled gamely in their reply and took the game to the final over, needing 19 to win, but Simon Bunn kept his nerve to pick up a well-deserved five-for and wrap up a 13 run victory.

A young Sunday 2nd XI can take encouragement from a much improved all-round performance against Rustons at Rase Park.

Bowling first, Rasen’s seamers made the visiting side work for their runs from the off, with James Keast particularly unlucky not to get a wicket early on.

Liam Entwhistle was the pick of the attack, picking up three wickets and he was well supported by Andy Richley, 5 for 35, and a determined display in the field, as Rustons posted 200 for 8.

Rasen made a stuttering start to their reply, with three wickets down in the first ten overs, but Andy Richley, 59, rebuilt Rasen’s reply, first with Sam Williams, whose 14 was worth far more and then with a determined Liam Entwhistle.

Unfortunately, once Richley fell Rasen’s reply came off the rails to see them dismissed for 110 to lose by 90 runs

This weekend sees a full slate on Saturday, with the 1st XI making the trek up to Keelby and the 2nds looking to get back on track as they host Scunthorpe 3rds, both games 1.30pm starts. The final game of the weekend sees the Sunday 2nd XI travelling to Nocton, 2pm start.