Market Rasen Town Cricket Club’s Matt Rutherford and Gary Bierlein shined with the bat to see Rasen to a three wicket win at high-fliers Alkborough.
The experienced pair guided Rasen home with more than three overs to spare in the Lincolnshire League Premier Division on Saturday.
Given the opportunity to bowl first by the home side, Rutherford’s side squeezed the life out of an Alkborough batting lineup that has dominated it’s opponents so far this season.
James Fussey set the tone, with a tight opening spell of 5 overs for only 11 runs. Bierlein, 2 for 53 from 17 overs, and Rutherford, 3 for 54 from 16 overs, then put on a masterclass of left-arm spin bowling which only Steve Clay, 46, and Alkborough’s Kiwi, Vaidik Kishan Raj, 61, were able to cope with.
Whilst the home side batted their overs out, their 178 for 5 was never likely to be enough.
Rasen’s now customary indifferent start saw George Fussey and Seb Darke, 24, having to rebuild from a perilous 19 for 2.
However, the youngsters dug in and ensured that a platform was set for the rest of the middle order. Whilst the pair could not see the job through, their hard work was not wasted as a patient captain’s innings of 55 not out from Matt Rutherford allowed Rob Chamberlin, 23, and Bierlein, 24 not out, to sparkle around him, with the pair both scoring at better than a run a ball and the total was chased down in the 47th over.
The 2nd XI enjoyed less success at home to Old Lincolnians in Lincs Division 3.
Opting to bat first, Jon Stephenson, 28, played a resolute innings at the top of the order and, together with a brisk 21 from Aaron Wells and an explosive 62 from 55 balls from Dale Christie, the skipper had laid out Rasen’s stall at 82 for 3.
Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for the home side, as Luke Jelly ripped through the batting lineup, taking 4 for 29, and triggering a monumental collapse that would see the last five wickets lost for only seven runs.
With 51 overs to chase down 138 for victory, Old Lincolnians’ were always in the box seat and Luke Jelly carried on with the bat where he’d left off with the ball, smashing 72 not out to see his side to an 8 wicket win with 20 overs to spare.
The Sunday 1st XI entertained Bracebridge Heath in the Lincoln League and ran out comfortable winners by five wickets, thanks to a second ‘5-fer’ of the season for Matt Rutherford, who took 5 for 25 from 9 overs, and 55 not out from George Fussey.
And finally, but by no means least, the U15s won their Regional Final in the ECB U15 National Club Championship on Sunday.
Having defeated Lindum to win the County Cup last Monday, the side hosted Spondon Cricket Club, from Derbyshire, and the youngsters put on an excellent all-round display.
Batting first, Rasen shrugged off the early loss of the prolific Tom Keast and Matt Travis, with skipper James Keast and Paul Martin both smashing a pair of fine 40s to help the hosts post 120 for 5 from their 20 overs.
Spondon’s reply was never allowed to get off the ground, as the visitors were restricted to 51 for 7 from their 20 overs.
All of the Rasen bowlers were superb and merit mention for their parsimonious and incisive bowling; Paul Martin, 2 for 10 from 4 overs, Niall Illingworth, 1 for 7 from 3 overs, Nic Keast, 2 for 7 from 4 overs, James Keast, 1 for 11 from 4 overs, Charlie Scales, 1 for 7 from 4 overs and Liam Entwistle, whose 1 over went for 2 runs.
The U15s head to York on Tuesday, July 30, for the Northern Finals day, where they’ll face Caythorpe in the semi-final. If they win both of their games at York, then they’ll head for the National Finals day in mid-August.