THE WEEKEND of the Royal Wedding saw Rasen’s senior teams celebrate with a clean sweep of victories.
The 1sts crushing Stamford Homes on Saturday and then edging to a nervy win against Cleethorpes 3rds.
When Rasen skipper Simon Bunn called the toss he kept everything crossed that his team would get to bowl first on a minefield of a wicket at Stamford Homes on Saturday.
When he lost that toss of the coin, his next problem was to ask Graeme Bell to open the innings in conditions he would not have come across during his past endeavours on the flat pitches of the ECB League.
However, he need not have worried as Bell and Jon Stephenson grafted beautifully for their opening first wicket stand of 109.
Stephenson will be disappointed that he fell short of a half century when bowled by Palli for 45.
George Fussey came to the crease and along with Bell carried on the good work, and in particular impressed playing the short ball with an assurance which belied his 15 years.
Bell and Fussey put on 78 until Bell fell for a classy 89.
George Fussey then fell to Palli soon after for 45, but more will come from him in his first season in first team cricket.
Skipper Bunn was pleased to go into the tea interval with his batsman providing an impressive 218 for five wickets.
Stamford Homes, fresh from their previous week’s victory over Alkborough, started brightly and stubborn resistance from the opening pair of Rudland and Chand saw them initially withstand the new-ball hostility of Will Bradford and Bell.
Both ended up with a wicket each which paved the way for Karl Bierlein to destroy any hope the home side had for a positive result.
Wickets fell steadily for Bierlein who finished with fantastic figures of 7-29 from his eight overs. And the home side innings ended on 98. Bierlein’s spell was backed by a good fielding performance, with Fussey and Luke Richards both impressing in the field.
Bank Holiday Monday saw Rasen almost throw away victory against Cleethorpes 3rds at Rase Park.
Losing the toss, Rasen were forced to bowl on a wicket that looked full of runs.
Graeme Bell provided the fireworks with a venomous opening spell, which included a magnificent hat trick, to reduce the visitors to 9 for 4. However, Cleethorpes rallied and finished their 45 overs on 156 for 9.
Jon Stephenson continued his good start to the season and kept the score moving, after his opening partner, Bell, had been run out.
George Fussey will be disappointed that he didn’t make use of the flat track as his brief cameo was cut short, caught square of the wicket with the score on 50.
Old stager, Ian Williams, then joined Stephenson and a watchful period enabled the score to progress past the 100 mark, with Stephenson reaching his half century before falling with the score on 115.
Nerves began to show as Rasen’s middle order crumbled, with another four wickets falling cheaply.
However, Williams stood firm amongst the wreckage and took Rasen past the visitors’ total, bringing up his unbeaten 50 with the same shot.
Rasen’s other two games at the weekend saw the 2nds beat Caistor Town 3rds by 10 wickets and the Sunday 1sts beat Reepham by eight wickets.
On Saturday, Rasen 2nds chose to bowl first at Rase Park and saw Caistor – in the form of a hard-hitting innings from Peter Jacob (74) – make a rapid start.
At 128 for 2 at drinks the visitors looked set for a mammoth total, but Andy Richley (4 for 23) and Richard Limmer (3 for 52) tore through the middle order and only a defiant innings from Glyn Benbow (58) and a determined effort from Kieran Brooker (20) took Caistor past 200 and to maximum batting points.
Dan Norburn (3 for 67) returned to help finish off the tail with Limmer and Caistor were bowled out for 213.
Rasen’s reply was stunning, as a new Lincolnshire League 4th Division first wicket partnership of 216 was forged by Ivan Nash (126 not out) and Rob Jeffery (82 not out).
Nash’s hundred was his maiden century for Rasen and, it is hoped, indicates great things to come from him this season.
The Sunday 1st XI brushed aside Reepham in the Major Hoult Cup at Rase Park, bowling the visitors out for 72.
Andy Stafford (21) was the only visitor to make an impact with the bat, while the wickets were shared between Paul Bett (4 for 15) and Graeme Bell (3 for 16), with Will Bradford, Matt Rutherford and Laurence Scott taking one apiece.
Jason New (37 not out) led Rasen’s reply, as the Premier League Champion’s knocked the runs off in 17 overs to keep their league and cup double hopes alive.
This weekend sees Rasen’s senior sides in action with the 1sts visiting Hartsholme, the 2nds hosting Hykeham 2nds (1.30pm start) and the Sunday 2nd XI making their Lincoln League debut, hosting Aisthorpe at Rase Park (2pm start).