A final weekend of ECB fixtures brought with it the climax of an eventful season at Rase Park with Market Rasen taking on Grimsby Town CC in a battle for ECB survival.
On a flat track Grimsby won the toss and elected to bat first, which put Rasen into a confident position with a catalogue of good bowling performances this season to rely on. In what some would see as a controversial move, Rutherford opened the bowling with Darke and Bradford, who rewarded their captain’s decision immediately.
The two all-rounders didn’t allow the Grimsby players to settle for a second and Bradford claimed a wicket in the very first over the game. Smashing the stumps of the Grimsby opener apart this was to signal a great opening 15 minutes for Rasen.
Grimsby crawled through the first 8 overs and were in trouble on 7 for 3 when Maninder Singh came to the crease and eased the Grimsby worries. Averaging 52 for the season Maninder was the danger man that Rasen feared.
Wickets became sparse and Grimsby moved steadily through to drinks on 64 for 5. With the game in the balance Rutherford took the captains role and captured two further wickets. Help from Penniston, Martin and a returning Bradford to the attack couldn’t break the resilient Grimsby defence as they battered their way to 110 for 7 with 10 overs remaining.
Market Rasen stalwart Graeme Bell has transformed himself over the years into a powerful opening and middle order batsmen, a world away from his younger days of quick/erratic fast bowling. In search of inspiration Rutherford called upon Bell to change the game for Rasen.
Coming off a short run-up, Bell produced a dizzying spell of slow bowling that bamboozled the Grimsby attack and put Rasen back in the driver’s seat.
The assembled crowd couldn’t believe their eyes as Grimsby lost two wickets for no runs, including the prized wicket of Maninder Singh, who looked the picture of dejection as he walked back to the pavilion for a well-deserved 75.
With one wicket left to get Rutherford supplied the final blow ,trapping the number 11 for LBW and closing the Grimsby innings on 126 all out.
Rasen began their attack confidently with Bell and Bradford punishing the opening Grimsby bowlers and racing the score to 50 from the first 10 overs without any loss for the home side.
Having batted well and moved quickly into the 30s, Bradford chased one ball too many and nicked it behind to give Grimsby a glimmer of hope as Rasen were held to 64 for 1.
Having starred with the ball, Bell now turned his attention to the bat. Big shots came and went as Bell neared a well-deserved 50, having played a couple of sumptuous fours he followed Bradford’s exit and gifted Grimsby another wicket finishing on a well-deserved 48.
Rasen now only needed 15 runs for outright victory and maximum points that would all but ensure their ECB survival. Although another wicket was lost Rasen cruised over the line within 30 overs and with seven wickets to spare.
At the end of a long debut season in the ECB, Rasen have provided themselves with another opportunity to play at the highest standard of cricket for another season. As one of a short list of teams that do have a recognized professional Rasen have acquitted themselves valiantly this season. Having now earned the much deserved victories and having run the eventual champions close on two occasions’ next season is eagerly anticipated at Rase Park.
The 1st and 2nd XI’s would like to thank all those involved this season for their hard work for the club. This Friday will see the 1st and 2nd XI take part in an end of season Twenty 20 match which begins at 5.30pm at Rase Park.