After last weekend’s turbulent weather a brighter bank holiday Saturday beckoned for Market Rasen’s Saturday sides.
The 1st XI travelled to the farthest reaches of the county to play Spalding CC who once again had retained the services of South African Warren Nel for their season.
Winning the toss the home side choose to bat first on a flat track that held the potential for runs for both sides. Opening the bowling for Rasen was the familiar pairing of Penniston and Fussey, with the latter providing the threat and Penniston restricting scoring opportunities at the other end.
It only took Fussey a few balls to get his first wicket as he bowled the Spalding opener finding movement off the pitch. This false dawn introduced the Spalding number three Josh Newton who, with Nel, edged, poked and flailed his way ultimately to an unconvincing 40.
Finding chances few and far between Rasen had to once again be patient for their next wicket as Spalding choose to be conservative in their attack.
With Paul Martin now introduced into the bowling line-up and with the ubiquitous Rutherford establishing himself at the other end Rasen began to pick up wickets at regular intervals. Closing in on the vital bonus points Rasen maintained a high standard in the field throughout.
Nel was to be the key man for Spalding once again this season as he made a sumptuous century. Achieving the feat in just under 49 overs he led Spalding over the 200 mark before Will Bradford bowled him for 103.
Closing their innings on 205 for 7 from 50 overs Spalding will have felt that they may have done enough to achieve their first victory of the season.
Following a stern introduction to ECB cricket last season, when Rasen had produced excellent fielding performances on a number of occasions but failed to back this up with a similar batting form, the pressure was on to maintain their unbeaten start.
Bradford and C. Scales gave Rasen the best possible start with an opening partnership of 41 before C. Scales lost his wicket to the Spalding opening pace bowler Charlie Kearns.
A highly talented all-rounder C. Scales then opened the door for his dad Liam to come to the crease.
Already having scored consistent runs for the 2nd XI this season, Scales brought a new vigour and strength to the Rasen batting attack. In conjunction with Bradford, who once again looked in great form, the pair pushed Rasen over the 100 mark without any further loss.
Combining boundaries and quick running between the wickets Bradford passed the 50 mark and will have considered a big score possible. Unfortunately this was not to be the case and saw his wickets tumble a few overs later.
This left Scales to challenge Spalding head on and made a clear statement of intent for Rasen as he brought an aggression in attack that was possibly lacking last season. Taking the score to 150 before falling just short of his own 50 Scales left the away side in a prime position to drive onto victory.
Another quick wicket fell for Rasen before their most experienced batsmen, Rutherford and Bell, came together at the crease. With 60 runs still to find both batsmen waited for their opportunity to play shots.
With the score and overs counting down boundaries began to flow as the pressure was vocally evident on the home side. With nearly three overs remaining Bell crashed another powerful four to bring the victory to Rasen.
After three league games this season Rasen sit fifth in the ECB with 47 points to their name. A great team performance with contributions coming from all over the team will please Rutherford and sends out a clear message to the rest of the league.
The coming weekend will see Grantham CC 1st XI visit Rase Park.