Matt Rutherford again shined with both bat and ball on Saturday, leading Market Rasen Town Cricket Club 1st XI to an 82 run win over Bracebridge Heath and, in the process, putting Rasen firmly in the hunt for the Lincolnshire League title.
Inspired by the 1sts’ recent form, the 2nd XI crushed South Kelsey, winning by 170 runs. However, a young Sunday 2nd XI were unable to claim a hat-trick of wins for the club, losing to Aisthorpe by 49 runs.
Batting first at Rase Park, the 1st XI again made a poor start, with Bracebridge picking up a wicket with only seven runs on the board.
But, that was as good as it would get for the visitors, as this brought the in-form Matt Rutherford to the crease. Rasen’s skipper followed up last week’s 79 against Barton with an even more impressive innings of 94 not out, off only 124 balls.
A gritty 33 from Dave Papworth and a jaunty 55 from Tom Boryszczuk allowed Rasen to post an imposing 213 for 5 from their 50 overs.
Bracebridge Heath’s reply got off to an equally poor start and whilst Oliver Clawson made 32, the rest of their lineup failed to make an impression as Rasen shared the wickets around to bowl the visitors out for 131. Rutherford was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3 for 39, whilst Boryszczuk, Seb Darke and Darren Salmon all picked up two wickets apiece.
The 1st XI are only 28 points behind leaders Messingham, with a game in hand. More importantly, Messingham visit Rase Park on Saturday week for a game that could end up as a title decider.
The 2nd XI batted first at South Kelsey and racked up 249 for 8 against their local rivals. Jon Stephenson, 27, and Kevin Salmon, 33, set the table for the Brothers Bradford to wreak havoc, with Will smashing 94 and Tom hitting 55 not out.
A thoroughly demoralised Kelsey unit were then bowled out for 79. Andrew Fisher, 25, and Andy Walton, 15, put on 44 for the first wicket, but once Liam Entwistle broke through, the home side collapsed. Entwistle reaped just reward for an excellent spell, claiming 4 for 27.
The Sunday 2nd XI threw away an excellent position against Aisthorpe, as the visitors claimed some consolation for last week’s cup defeat to Rasen.
The Sunday 2nds’ young attack made significant inroads into the visitors’ batting, reducing Aisthorpe to 84 for 7. However, an unbeaten 62 from D. Sheiber guided the visitors to a decent total of 178 for 7 from their 40 overs. Martin West was the pick of the bowling for Rasen, picking up 3 for 30.
Rasen’s reply never really got going, as whilst Matt Travis looked organised and comfortable, stroking the ball all around the park for 45, wickets fell constantly at the other end.
When Travis was the sixth man out with the score on 88 the writing was on the wall for Rasen’s youngsters. Some late blows from Adam Ramsey kept Aisthorpe waiting, but they eventually bowled their hosts out for 129, with Paul Brookes bagging 6 for 29.
This weekend sees the 1st XI head to Cleethorpes, looking for another 20 points to maintain their title challenge, 12.30pm start, whilst the 2nd XI host Laportes, 1pm start. Rasen’s only game in the Lincoln League this weekend sees the Sunday 1st XI host Sleaford, 1.30pm start.