ANOTHER successful weekend in the Lincolnshire County Cricket League for Market Rasen Town Cricket Club saw the 1sts maintain their one-point advantage at the top of Division One and the seconds continue their winning streak in Division Four.
A Rasen batting collapse saw their winning run of more than a year come to an end during July at the hands of their Wolds rivals.
But on Saturday players and spectators alike were treated to a tour de force from skipper Matt Rutherford, as the all-rounder ripped through visiting Horncastle to take 5 for 29. He then smashed a quick-fire 78 not out to see Rasen to victory in the 25th over.
Having chosen to bat first Horncastle found themselves in early trouble, as Graeme Bell reduced the visitors to 21 for 2.
Lewis Lovegrove joined Phil Roberts and managed to bring Horncastle back into the game and forced Rutherford to turn to spin, in the shape of himself and Gary Bierlein.
The move brought instant rewards, as Lovegrove was cleaned up by the skipper and the Horncastle innings fell into a rhythm it would not escape; namely Phil Roberts collecting as many runs as he could whilst his colleagues failed to cope with Rasen’s spinners.
The pair shared the last eight wickets between them as Roberts’ pyrrhic knock saw him last out for an impressive 82 in the 40th over, to leave Rasen a target of 149 for victory.
Rasen’s figures along with Ruherford’s 5 were, Gary Bierlein, 3 for 32 from 12 overs, and Graeme Bell, 2 for 38.
Not content with his efforts with the bat, Roberts took the new ball for Horncastle and made life difficult for Rasen, picking up both openers relatively cheaply, as well as the wicket of George Fussey, somewhat fortuitously, to leave the home side 57 for 3.
The rest of the Horncastle attack was unable to live up to Roberts’ high standards and wilted in the face of an aggressive counter-attack from Rutherford and Dale Christie, who picked up where he left off last week against App Frod with another aggressive cameo.
Christie’s rapid 40 included 36 in boundaries, as he put on 71 for the fourth wicket with Rutherford.
With the line in sight Rutherford took Christie’s departure as the cue to crack on and proceeded to smash the remaining 24 runs required for victory himself, taking Rasen to victory in the 25th over.
Phil Roberts’ 3 for 25 was the pick of a visiting attack who struggled to contain the Division One leaders.
Rasen’s win sees them remain at the top of Division One. Results elsewhere in the division mean that it is now a three-horse race between Rasen, Bracebridge Heath 2nds and Scothern for the Division One title.
The 2nd XI ran out convincing winners at Hibaldstow against a young and enthusiastic Scunthorpe Town 3rd XI.
Invited to bat first on a blameless track Rasen ran up 249 for 6 from their 45 overs, with Ivan Nash, 52, Tom Bradford, 59 and Luke Richards, 49 not out. Kane Brown, 2 for 37, and Oscar Davie, 3 for 42, were the pick of the home side’s attack.
Scunthorpe’s reply got off to the worst possible start, as a mix-up between the openers allowed Sam Williams the chance to throw down the stumps at the bowler’s end from square leg, with the non-striker well short of his ground.
Dan Norburn continued to pile on the pressure, picking up the next two wickets to fall and backing up the excellent James Keast, who somehow managed not to take a wicket, in spite of bowling delightfully to back up his excellent 30 not out with the bat.
With the skipper keen to wrap things up Rasen turned to the spin of Andy Richley and Ivan Nash and the pair kept the wickets tumbling, with Nash bowling particularly well for his 3 for 22.
Scunthorpe’s middle order went down swinging, inspired by Oliver Doleman’s 36, but Rasen’s experience told as the home side were bundled out for 103 in the 29th over.
This weekend sees a full slate of fixtures for the club, with the 1st XI heading over the Wolds to Holton-Le-Clay for another must-win match and the 2nd XI hosting Old Lincolnians in a game that they have to win in order to maintain their own title ambitions. Both games start at 1.30pm.
In the Lincoln League the Sunday 1st XI host Cherry Willingham and the Sunday 2nd XI head to Cross O Cliff Court to play Bracebridge Heath 2nds.
Both games start at 2pm.