An indifferent second half of the season has blighted Rasen Second XI’s tremendous start in Lincolnshire County League Division Three.
Despite a fifth game without a win at Clee Town Laportes CC on Saturday, Rasen still cling on to second, with a game in hand on leaders Grimsby.
But with several sides also playing catch-up, the league standings could change significantly before the end of the season.
Winning the toss and electing to field, Rasen opened with the fruitful pairing of Dan Clarke and Liam Entwistle.
An early wicket came, but with Clee on the attack, Stephenson rang the changes.
Rasen began to take regular wickets, but Clee continued to add to the score and passed the 100 mark.
Excellent bowling from Rory Miller and Sam Williams brought two further wickets, but the stand-out bowling display went to Lee Freeman who bowled 15 overs and finished with three well-earned wickets.
Clee finished on 164-6 from their 45 overs, but Rasen felt they should have taken more wickets.
The visitors began their chase confidently, but lost George Fussey early on. With middle order support, Freeman built a solid 58 before losing his wicket as Rasen reached 113-4 with plenty of overs in hand.
All-rounder Dan Clarke reached 37 before he was caught attempting to push the score on.
And with the total in sight, Rasen capitulated, losing their final six wickets for only 28 runs, to finish 141 all out from 42.5 overs, as another chance of victory slipped by.