The 2013 Lincolnshire County Cricket League Champions signed off in style on Saturday, bundling out their hosts, Alford & District, for 118 to win their last game of the campaign by 50 runs.
With the title already wrapped up, opportunities were given to Market Rasen’s youngsters to make their mark ahead of next season and three players, in particular, seized the opportunity with both hands.
Seb Darke started the season in the 2nd XI, but an average of more than 50 after his first four outings saw him promoted to the 1sts.
While runs have been harder to come by in the Premier Division, Darke has not looked out of place. Given the opportunity to open the innings with Will Bradford at Alford, he cashed in with aplomb, putting on 112 for the first wicket and outscoring his more experienced partner against an Alford attack that has troubled many sides this season.
Such was Bradford and Darke’s dominance, that it was not until Alford’s skipper, Andy White, had turned to his sixth bowler that the Rasen openers were parted, with Bradford hitting Michael Brown straight to White for an excellent 45.
While Darke had brought up his maiden 1st XI 50, Bradford’s departure led to three more quick wickets for the hosts, including Darke for an excellent 51, and Rasen’s innings never recovered the momentum lost at this point.
Chris Higgins and James Fussey chipped in with some useful runs down the order, but with Brown, 5 for 36, running riot, Rasen were bowled out for 168 in the 49th over.
The second Rasen youngster to make his mark on proceedings was James Fussey. The 16-year-old seamer has spent the entire season in the 1st XI and, as one might expect, has found wickets hard to come by in his maiden Premier Division campaign.
However, Fussey proved irresistible on Saturday, scything through the experienced Alford top-order to take 5 for 26 from his opening seven over spell.
Picking up five of the first six wickets to fall, by the time Fussey’s opening spell was done, Alford were 45 for 7 and the game was up for the hosts. A defiant 55 not out from Chris Hennessy delayed the inevitable as first Tom White and then Steve Kirkham tried to stay with their side’s number three.
Tom Boryszczuk, the final member of Rasen’s youthful triumvirate to shine on Saturday, wrapped up the innings with 3 for 24, ending Alford’s belated resistance and demonstrating that even without the spin of Rutherford and Bierlein, this Rasen side remain a potent outfit with the ball.
The win sees the 1st XI reach the 300 point mark in the Premier Division and caps a memorable season for the side.
The coming weeks will see the club and its players deliberating on whether or not to apply to join the Lincolnshire ECB Premier League. But regardless of the decision the future looks incredibly bright for this talented and youthful outfit.