IT may have taken them the best part of two months to actually play a league game, but Market Rasen Town Cricket Club’s 1st XI made up for lost time on Saturday, demolishing a Scothern side that won this division in 2011.
Asked to bat first on an overcast afternoon at Rase Park, Simon Bunn’s men took a liking to the Scothern attack and filled their boots accordingly.
Graeme Bell and Ian Williams, 21, opened for Rasen and put on 60 in 11 overs as the ball was sent scudding to all parts of the field. Having given the home side the ideal start, Williams decided to tuck into the change bowling as well, only to smack the ball straight to mid-off and hand Ian McGowan the first of two wickets.
Bell continued to strike the ball cleanly and put on an un-hurried 62 for the second wicket with Liam Scales, 28, before also falling to a catch off the bowling of McGowan for 68 (9 fours, 1 six).
Scothern quickly turned one wicket into two, pouncing on a mix-up between the batsmen to send Scales back to the pavilion, just as he had been looking to break free of his self-imposed shackles.
At 124 for 3 with 16 overs remaining, Rasen still had plenty to do in order to post a competitive score and Dale Christie stepped up and provided the required injection of violence.
Some brutal hitting from the experienced middle-order slugger saw him put on 73 with Matt Rutherford in next to no time and it was a surprise when Christie found himself castled by Richard Johnson for 41, from only 26 balls.
Rutherford, 31 from 34 balls, was run out immediately afterwards to leave Rasen on 197 for 5 and with Darren Salmon and Will Bradford failing to cash in, Rasen’s innings was in danger of falling short of the heights it had aspired to.
However, 14–year–old Tom Keast, 13 from 9 balls, helped Gary Bierlein, 21, at a run a ball, steady the ship and guide Rasen to an imposing 236 for 7 from their 45 overs.
McGowan, 2 for 59, and Johnson 2 for 60, were the pick of a visiting attack that was unable to contain a dominant batting display from Rasen.
Scothern’s reply got off to the worst possible start, as Will Bradford cleaned up Nathan Pearse with only three on the board.
Excellent new ball bowling from Bradford and Bell, 1 for 27, meant that the pressure never relented on the Scothern top order, which led to Peter Wright spiralling a catch to square-leg off Bell, that Salmon did well to compose himself under and pouch.
Pace and away movement from Bradford, as well as an excellent catch at first-slip from Christie, saw Simon Harvey’s intended cover drive fly to the bucket-hands of Christie, much to the batsman’s dismay and the delight of the sizeable crowd.
At 18 for 3 Scothern were left with no option but to batten down the hatches and Sam Naughton and Johnson did just that, putting on 40 for the fourth wicket.
Naughton became Bradford’s third victim, to leave the pace-man with figures of 3 for 25 from 9 overs. Rutherford trapped Jacob Smith LBW the next over to leave the visitors on 58 for 5.
Johnny Drabble swung the willow to good effect, collecting three boundaries in his 16 as Johnson shut up shop at the other end, but his efforts were in vain, as Rutherford, and fellow left-arm spinner Gary Bierlein, cleaned up the tail between them, bundling Scothern out for 102 in the 37th over.
Rutherford finished with 4 for 22 from 9 overs and Bierlein bagged 2 for 10 from 3.2 overs to complete a fine all-round performance for the home team.
Whilst one win does not make a summer, Rasen will be go into next week in confident mood, knowing that they obviously have the ability to thrive at this level in 2012.
The seasonal Bank Holiday weather did its best to bring the club back to earth on Sunday, as all of Sunday’s games were lost to the weather.
For a full report on the 2nd XI’s trip to Brigg Road to play Caistor Town 3rd XI, please visit the Rasen Mail website (www.marketrasenmail.co.uk).