Market Rasen First XI face a tense end to the season as defeat at struggling Grantham left them just six points above the Lincs ECB Premier relegation zone.
Only 10 points separate the six teams in the bottom half to the top flight after Rasen’s six-wicket away defeat.
Annual holidays and injuries decimated the team and forced seven changes from the previous victory over Spalding.
The hosts boasted several Lincolnshire Minor Counties players and new signing Dan Freeman, the Nottinghamshire CCC all-rounder.
On a notoriously unpredictable track, Rasen batted first and were immediately up against it as Seb Darke was removed by the dangerous Joe Peck.
Trying to establish an early partnership, Jono Stephenson and David Papworth saw Rasen into the 10th over, but with runs hard to come by Papworth pushed at one ball too many and was sent back to the pavilion for four.
Stephenson followed soon after, bowled by Jamie Brumby, having faced 30 balls for six runs after a hard-fought innings.
Another excellent fourth wicket partnership from Paul Martin and Matt Rutherford took Rasen past the 50 mark.
The game was unfortunately tarnished by some over-exuberant sledging towards Martin, one of the youngest members of Rasen’s side. Raising his game he smashed an exciting 26 runs before poor shot selection saw him give up his wicket to Karanjit Bansal.
With several ECB debutants, the final wickets of Rasen’s innings fell without any great resistance. James Fussey (11) was the only lower order player to break into double figures.
Youngster Mark Bedford showed a brilliant fighting spirit, but with Rasen all out for 82, the visitors had missed a brilliant opportunity to attain points against one of the league’s less dangerous attacks.
Grantham had Lincolnshire county player Karanjit Bansal and Freeman to open their reply, but James Fussey rediscovered his excellent early season form to tie both batsmen in knots.
Dropped catches cost Rasen early wickets before Fussey broke through when Bansal flailed at one shot too many and his outside edge gave Christer an easy catch behind the stumps.
The pitch continued to be unpredictable and had it not been for some wayward bowling, Grantham may have struggled to reach the total.
Freeman finished on 51 not out, but no other batsman reached double figures as the hosts reached the total just before drinks.
With only seven games left, Rasen will welcome back several senior players for this weekend’s home game with Market Deeping (noon start).