On Saturday Market Rasen Cricket Club’s 1st XI travelled to Bracebridge Heath to attempt to turn around their fortunes following a defeat and cancellation in recent games.
Both teams were looking for a vital win to boost their league position and having had close encounters during the 2012 season this was always a fixture that could be won by either.
Having lost the toss, Rasen skipper Matt Rutherford and his charges were asked to bat first on a green and damp surface which was always going to offer much assistance to the bowlers.
Openers Graeme Bell and Dave Papworth began the mission of building the innings needed in the conditions in front of them.
Bracebridge handed the ball to overseas quick bowler Joubert and local lad Hall, but despite not making the best of the pitch, runs were difficult to come by and frustration grew as the ball continually lifted off a good length to exaggerate the movement off the seam.
Having seen off the first spell, quick wickets were to tumble with Bell, Papworth and debutante Seb Darke all falling in quick succession to leave Rasen on 28-3.
This brought together Jon Stephenson and skipper Rutherford who built a steady partnership over the next 20 overs pushing the score to 90 before Stephenson fell for a fluent 41.
With 20 overs of the game remaining a defendable total was looking tough, but with Dale Christie joining his captain things changed within the space of eight eventful overs. Having watched his teammates grind out runs, Christie made a mockery of the conditions and launched into the Bracebridge attack blasting a quickfire 42 from 19 deliveries to push the score onto 150 before going for one shot too many.
Rutherford soon followed having made a patient but crucial 35, leaving Gary Bierlein and the tail end to finish off the innings, which included some lusty blows from Ryan Penniston to move the score onto 187 before the final wicket fell, Nathan Poundall was the pick of the Bracebridge bowlers taking four wickets for six runs.
Defending the total was always going to be a tough task, but with Penniston (9-3-16-0) and fellow new ball bowler Will Bradford (6-1-17-1), Rasen started in bright fashion with displays of swing and seam bowling that warranted greater reward than just the single wicket between them.
This brought together the spin duet of Rutherford (15-4-25-3) and Bierlein (17-3-48-5), who looked to build on the pressure already created.
With the run-rate increasing by the over, Bracebridge could never break the shackles, and some excellent catching from Darke, Bradford and Bell and a run out instigated by the energetic Papworth, Rasen were able to take wickets at regular intervals, removing the dangerous McDowall, Poundall and Stubbs in the space of five overs.
The performance of all the bowlers involved was a monumental effort which saw the host all out for 143, giving Rasen the full 20 points which moves them up three places in the league.
This Saturday brings cup action with Rasen making the journey to take on a strong Barton Town outfit in the George Marshall Cup,