With Market Rasen Town Cricket Club 1sts taking a well earned rest, the Sunday 1st XI took their chance in the sun with aplomb, cruising to a five wicket win at Hykeham 1sts.
The club’s 2nd XIs enjoyed less success though, as both sides managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, with the 2nd XI losing by ten runs at Keelby 2nds on Saturday and the Sunday XI losing by six wickets at Aisthorpe.
Matt Rutherford’s Sunday 1st XI are hot on the heels of Boston in the McKinnells Lincoln Sunday League Premier Division.
The Rase Park outfit travelled to Hykeham on the back of three successive wins and were able to make it four, thanks to four wickets from Matt Rutherford and another unbeaten half-century from Luke Robinson, 65 not out.
Hykeham were grateful to Chris Hammond, whose 74 anchored their innings of 164 all out, but with Rasen fielding a potent batting line-up, the total was never likely to be enough, and so it proved, as Robinson led the side home for the second time in three games.
With Boston edging to a tight win at Martin, Market Rasen’s title hopes are slim, but the side continue to give themselves a fighting chance.
The 2nd XI travelled to Keelby looking for a third consecutive win to maintain their promotion push and Rasen dominated the first three-quarters of the game.
Asked to bowl first, the visiting attack never let Keelby get away and dismissed the home side for 149 in the 42nd over.
The home side were grateful to 55 from Dan Mawer and a spirited 26 from Pete Briggs as their middle order crumbled to the wiles of Andy Richley, 6 for 39.
Rasen’s reply was steady and considered and the visitors had reached 112 for 3 with little alarm, overcoming two of the top three missing out thanks to Andy Richley, 30, Tom Bradford, 40, and Ivan Nash, 32.
However, Bradford’s dismissal triggered an extraordinary capitulation as Rasen’s batsmen were flattened by Keelby’s juggernaut of a comeback.
Mark Wade, 3 for 32, was the pick of the home side’s attack, with Udi Sheikh, Bailey Mawer and Bruce Roberts picking up a couple of wickets apiece as Rasen crumbled to 139 all out and a ten run defeat.
The 2nds’ promotion hopes are not quite dashed, but their fate is no longer in their own hands.
The Sunday 2nd XI racked up maximum batting points for the first time in 2011, thanks to a magnificent 135 from Liam Scales, smashed from only 97 balls, at Aisthorpe.
The veteran batsman led Rasen to an imposing total of 253 all out and was well supported by rapid knocks from Rob Cook, 35, and Chris Higgins, 50.
P. Brookes was the pick of the Aisthorpe attack, with 4 for 19.
Unfortunately it was a familiar tale with the ball for Rasen, as they were unable to defend their total and went on to lose by six wickets.
Mick Reynolds smashed a rapid 100 for Aisthorpe and Jamie Nair then finished the game with a brutal 70 not out.
This weekend sees the 1st XI heading to Owmby, where victory will see them clinch the Division One crown and the 2nd XI play Keelby 2nds again, this time at Rase Park (both games start at 1.30pm).
Sunday sees Rasen in the final of the Major Hoult Cup against title rivals Boston at Rase Park.
Play will start at 2pm. Also on Sunday, the 2nd XI head to Gainsborough to play Marshalls.