ON an unusually hot summer’s day, Market Rasen Saturday 2nds entertained Caistor 3rd XI looking to continue their push for the 4th Division Title.
Having lost the toss and being asked to bat first was something of a surprise for inspirational skipper Mark Robinson.
Jon Stephenson and Ivan Nash opened up for Rasen and did so in style with a partnership in excess of 200.
Stephenson registered his maiden ton at the ripe old age of 28, eventually falling to Ernie Allison for 128.
At the other end, Nash continued his record of playing Caistor at Rase Park by notching his 100 not out in confident fashion.
Will Bradford and Darren Salmon chipped in with 13 each and Rasen declared on 271-2 after 41 overs.
The bowlers looked to make in-roads into the Caistor line up as early as possible.
In an amazing 17-over period, Caistor were skittled out for 14 from 17 overs, with 14-year-old James Keast taking four for four from six overs and old stager Simon Bunn three for five from eight.
Salmon helped clean up the tail end with three wickets for no runs in a three-over spell.
An impressive display all round to give Rasen a 257 run victory and keep them in the chase for promotion.
n Spin was the name of the game for the Saturday 1st XI, as Gary Bierlein and Matt Rutherford bowled Rasen to victory in the glorious sunshine at Cleethorpes on Sunday.
With Graeme Bell, Will Bradford and Tom Keast unavailable, skipper Rutherford called upon Ryan Penniston, Jason New and Liam Scales to bolster his side, looking to continue their excellent run of form.
Having won the toss and electing to bat, New opened up with Ian Williams on what looked to be a usual Cleethorpes batting track.
A steady opening spell from the bowlers found runs and in particular boundaries, hard to come by, but as the new ball wore off both batsmen found their range.
The introduction of spin saw the end of Williams for 25, who was in two minds with his shot and the first wicket down for 40. From here on in, all batsman got themselves in but no-one went on to make a big score.
Scoring at a rate of five per over, Rasen were able to post an average 223-6, with contributions from New (38), Scales (40) and Rutherford (42), while Christie, Bierlein and George Fussey all chipped in with valuable 20s.
After tea, and with the sound of thunder in the distance, Rasen knew they had to bowl decent line and length to claim victory against a side struggling towards the bottom of the table.
For the first time this season neither Bell nor Bradford were on hand to open the bowling, so it was the turn of Penniston and James Fussey to showcase their talents.
A brisk start from J Farmery saw Cleethorpes race along to 40 within the first five overs, but Penniston bagged the crucial first wicket, trapping Marris LBW for 10.
Not for the first time this season it was the introduction of spin that saw the game change and with Gary Bierlein bowling his first eight overs for seven runs the pressure built, allowing Rutherford to pick of the Cleethorpes top order by claiming the next four wickets to reduce the hosts to 70-5.
Following a brief rain break, Rasen were frustrated by a partnership of 70 between skipper Hewstone (36no) and Judah (46).
Various bowling changes were made in search of vital wickets to ensure victory, but it wasn’t until the 41st over when the breakthrough was made, with Williams prancing his way around the outfield to claim a catch at mid-off and Gary Bierlein clean bowling the No 8 first ball.
Two further wickets in the final over saw Cleethorpes finish on 170-9, giving Rasen a valuable 19 points which saw them back at the top of the table.
With only a handful of games remaining, both the 1st and 2nd XIs are looking well placed for not only promotion, but also picking up the titles they have worked hard to bring back to Rase Park.