More Lincolnshire League success for Market Rasen Town Cricket Club was on the cards at the weekend, with the 1st team maintaining their position at the top of Division Two and the 2nds snapping a three-game skid to move up to third in Division Four.
The only loss of the weekend was when the weather halted both of Sunday’s matches.
Market Rasen 1st XI travelled to near neighbours Keelby looking to maintain their 100 per cent record.
With all-rounder Graeme Bell unavailable and fellow opening batsman Jon Stephenson out for the rest of the season through injury, Rasen realised that they would have to dig deep to stay clear at the top.
Winning the toss and allowing Keelby to have the first bat on an indifferent surface, Rasen skipper Simon Bunn opened the bowling with the hostile Will Bradford.
Both bowlers had the home side in all sorts of trouble with five wickets falling for only 41 on the board. Bradford was the main thorn in Keelby’s side with an opening spell of 3 for 12 from seven overs.
Brief resistance from Spencer and Skipworth halted the fall of wickets, with Spencer doing well to survive a nasty knock on the head from a short pitched delivery from Bradford before falling for a gutsy 37.
The gentle drift of Karl Bierlein was introduced and he dismissed Keelby captain Skipworth LBW for 28 with the score on 104.
The remaining wickets of the Keelby innings were shared between Bierlein and Dan Norburn with the former finishing with figures of 4 for 20 off 12.4 overs.
A tricky 126 was the target for the Rasen batsman, but with the wicket calming due to the drying wind a positive result was never in doubt.
Nick Hooper, a new addition to the ranks, opened up the innings and, after a watchful start, scored runs freely around the large Keelby outfield.
Leeds University medical student Hooper will have been disappointed to fall short of a deserved half century when he was trapped LBW with the score on 83.
Rasen number three George Fussey was out soon after to give the home side a glimmer of hope.
Vice-skipper Gary Bierlien took the opportunity to remind skipper Simon Bunn of his abilities with the bat, bringing up a classy half century as he revelled in a return to opening the Rasen innings, posting an unbeaten 53.
Assisted by Ian Williams with 23, Keelby’s score was passed in the 34th over for the loss of only three Rasen wickets.
Rasen 1sts have no fixture next weekend so will be hungry for another 20 point haul when they return to action on June 25, looking to do the first double of the season over Stamford Homes at Rase Park.
The 2nd XI hosted in-form Scunthorpe 3rds and won an enthralling encounter by 16 runs.
Invited to bat first on a track that had been freshened up half an hour earlier by a brief shower, Rasen made a solid start with Andy Richley and Ivan Nash putting on 41 in the first ten overs.
Unfortunately, both openers fell within a couple of overs and Rob Chamberlin and Mick Corden were forced to rebuild.
Drinks found Rasen well placed on 96 for 2 with Chamberlin starting to look imperious. Unfortunately the young all-rounder’s belligerent innings was cut short, as he fell for a rapid 42 from only 33 balls.
This was the cue for Rasen’s middle order to implode, as Jack Harrison, 2 for 9 from six overs, and John Hernon, 3 for 50, reduced the home side to 144 for 8.
With even 160 looking a distant dream, Adie Turner, 27 not out, and James Fussey, 24 not out, from 23 balls, took the attack to Scunthorpe and ensured that Rasen posted a competitive total of 193 for 8 from their 45 overs.
Scunthorpe Town’s reply got off to a slow start, with Fussey and Chamberlin also enjoying excellent games with the ball.
The pair of young seamers bottled Scunthorpe up and while wickets didn’t tumble, the visitors found scoring nigh on impossible, only managing to reach 46 for 1 after 20 overs.
With Fussey taking an extraordinary three wickets in four balls after drinks Scunthorpe were reeling at 75 for 4, but James Coulbeck, 52, and Rory Franklin, 60 not out, strived to up the scoring rate and the pair, with some help from Rasen’s fielders, brought their side back into the game.
With bowlers and fielders working as one, Rasen subdued the threatened come-back, in spite of Franklin’s refusal to bow to the inevitable and were good value for the win.
James Fussey, 3 for 35 from 12 overs, was the pick of the attack to complete an excellent all round match with Andy Richley, 4 for 73 from 16 overs and Rob Chamberlin, 1 for 32 from 11 overs, providing the bulk of the support for the young county star.
Next Saturday sees the 2nd XI host top of the table Morton in a vital Lincs League 4 clash (1.30pm start). The Sunday 1st XI travel to Hartsholme and the Sunday 2nd XI host Bardney (both 2pm starts).