Lincs ECB Premier: Market Rasen suffer relegation heartache on final day

Market Rasen skipper Matt Rutherford tries to unlock Norman Brackley's stubborn resistance EMN-150914-133921002
Market Rasen skipper Matt Rutherford tries to unlock Norman Brackley's stubborn resistance EMN-150914-133921002

A frustrating last-wicket stand from Skegness consigned Market Rasen to relegation from the Lincs ECB Premier League on the final day.

The 62-run partnership between Norman Brackley and Mark Chamberlain ultimately was the difference between Rasen and the 20-point win which would have seen them safe.

Winning the toss, Rasen put Skegness in on a green wicket with the early morning conditions favouring the bowling side.

The visitors forced the pace in the early exchanges, but this led to the first wicket as opener Pete Houghton was run out by Rasen skipper Matt Rutherford as he attempted another quick single.

James Fussey continued his excellent season by claiming Rasen’s second wicket to leave Skegness 43-2.

Rutherford claimed his 69th and 70th wickets of the season, and with Skegness still pushing the pace, another run-out was claimed thanks to Will Bradford’s quick reactions at gully as Rasen went into drinks on top at 79-5.

The hosts claimed a quickfire four wickets for 17 runs after the break as Skegness teetered on 96-9.

But as they tried desperately to claim the final wicket, several chances were missed.

Brackley hit a brilliant 52 from 74 balls with support from number 11 Chamberlain to reach 158 all out.

The returning Tom Boryzczuk added four wickets to his brief season as Rasen put themselves within grasp of safety.

South African overseas fast bowler Brendan Young opened the Skegness attack, and faced with mounting pressure and a small total to chase, Rasen’s top order were overcome by Young’s power.

The hosts were reduced to 25-5 inside 15 overs with none of the top five troubling the scorers.

For the second time this season it was left to Rutherford and Paul Martin to bring Rasen back and they served up two fine innings of patient batting.

They scored consistently to take Rasen to 103 before the sixth wicket fell when Martin skewed a lofted effort to point.

With four wickets remaining and 56 runs to get, Rasen never again found that match-winning partnership.

Knowing Grimsby had lost at Woodhall, Rasen knew victory would see them safe by two points, but Rutherford’s monumental innings came to an end after 54 runs and 135 balls.

Left with little option, Fussey valiantly attempted to push the score along, but was eventually caught at mid-off, closing the innings on 137.

Having remained outside the relegation zone for 20 of 22 matches, Rasen showed signs of improvements in their second season in the ECB, but failed at the last.

Rutherford, who finished as the league’s leading wicket-taker, said: “We’ve had a tough year in the ECB this season.

“We started with a four-match unbeaten run, but with player commitment challenging the consistency of the team it’s been hard to find that same run of form again.

“We’ve been careful as a club to remain focussed and realistic while playing in the ECB and have made it our clear intention to put the needs of local players ahead of bringing in other sources of talent in to the club.

“We’ve enjoyed our two years in the ECB and our junior players have been developed well through the experience of playing some very talented teams.

“We’ll take a break now for the winter and come back to nets early next year to prepare for a successful 2016.”

* Market Rasen CC presentation evening, fro senior and junior sides, will be held on Friday, October 2 from 6.30pm.