A weekend of hard graft by Market Rasen Town Cricket Club only resulted in a single victory from the three games played, but all three of the town’s sides can reflect on the positives.
The 1st XI were narrowly defeated at Nettleham, as the hosts struggled to chase down Rasen’s under-par 172 all out in the Lincolnshire League Premier Division, eventually winning by only two wickets.
The Sunday 1st XI notched their first win of the season in the Lincoln League Premier Division, thumping neighbours Owmby by 104 runs. The Sunday 2nd XI took their hosts, Aisthorpe, to the last over in defending their total of 144 for 5, but also ended up losing by two wickets.
A bright and breezy day in Nettleham saw Rasen all but bat themselves out of the game, only for a fine effort by Gary Bierlein, 48 not out, and a committed performance in the field to give Rasen a sniff which home captain, Russ Binnington, snuffed out with some lusty blows.
A pacy and prolonged spell of fast bowling from Jack Bayliss, 4 for 52 from 17 overs, combined with some naive batting saw Rasen reduced to 111 for 8 with more than 20 overs left to bat.
A determined partnership of 52 between Gary and Karl Bierlein gave Rasen hope of giving themselves something to bowl at, but when the last wicket fell in the 50th over with Rasen on 172 the total seemed at least 40 runs light.
After a circumspect start from the home side’s openers, Will Bradford and James Fussey bagged a pair of wickets apiece in the space of five runs, to reduce Nettleham to 39 for 4.
However, Jack Curtis, 35, and Thomas Dalton, 41 steadied the ship and while a searching spell of 3 for 35 from Gary Bierlein kept Rasen in the hunt, a couple of big hits from Binnington, 23 not out, saw the hosts home with two wickets to spare in the 39th over.
Sunday 1st XI
The Sunday 1st XI batted first against Owmby and Will Bradford, 91 not out, and George Fussey, 89 not out, shrugged off the early departure of Rasen’s openers to put on 182 for the third wicket and enable the home side to post 212 for 2 from their 40 overs.
A determined performance with the bat from the visitors saw Rasen kept in the field until the 38th over in search of the last wicket, but only D Hill, 31, made a score of note, as a young home attack was simply too much for Owmby to handle. James Fussey, 2 for 8 from 7 overs, Seb Darke, 3 for 20, James Keast, 2 for 11 and Nic Keast, 2 for 12, were the juniors to share the wickets.
Sunday 2nd XI
The Sunday 2nd XI also batted first on a sporting track at Aisthorpe and were grateful for Tom Keast’s first senior 50 for the club, as the opener carried his bat for 53 not out.
With an unkempt outfield, Keast and the rest of the lineup were robbed of numerous boundaries and were unable to make the most of their opportunities, only posting 144 for 5 from their 40 overs. A total, which looked 15 runs light at tea.
An excellent opening spell from Liam Entwistle, who took 3 for 20 from his 10 overs, saw Rasen put themselves in the box seat early on, with Aisthorpe reduced to 8 for 2.
When Charlie Scales replaced Entwistle and picked up dangerous opener Mick Reynolds to leave the home side on 34 for 3, Rasen were well and truly in the game.
Unfortunately an excellent knock of 93 not out from Jamie Nair defeated the visitor’s attack, in spite of 4 for 27 from Andy Richley, smashing the winning six with three balls and two wickets to spare. Aisthorpe had added 111 while Nair had been in the middle and were grateful for the all-rounder’s sterling efforts.
This weekend sees a full slate of fixtures; on Saturday the 1st XI host Alford in the Lincolnshire League Premier Division, 1pm start, and the 2nd XI visit Barton Town 2nds, 1.30pm start. The Sunday 1st XI host Hartsholme and the Sunday 2nd XI visit Nettleham 2nds, both 2pm starts.