Batting frailties once more resurfaced as Market Rasen First XI were beaten by new Lincolnshire ECB Premier leaders Bracebridge Heath on Saturday.
Winning the toss, skipper Matt Rutherford chose to field first at Rase Park in blustery conditions, and Ryan Penniston opened the bowling from the river end in conjunction with talented all-rounder Paul Martin.
Bracebridge began confidently, scoring off boundary shots only for the first few overs. But after building pressure, Martin claimed the first wicket, bowling Vikram Atri with a ball which moved back in off the seam (27-1).
Having found the first wicket relatively cheaply, Rasen had to fight hard to claim their second against Bracebridge’s strong batting line-up.
Uncharacteristic fielding mistakes allowed Brett Houston an escape early in his innings much to the frustration of the hosts.
With Martin now out of the attack, Rutherford provided the threat from the industrial estate end while Penniston contained the batsmen with his conservative medium pace.
The captain eventually snared the second wicket, trapping Houston LBW, and the game was finely poised at 125-2 at drinks.
Bowling medium pace, young Sam Williams produced chances and contained the batsmen. But it was the captain who again broke through when he got the ball to turn off the pitch and took the middle stump of opener Nick John (97).
Having passed the 200 mark going into the final 10 overs, the visitors would have targeted 300 as a par score for the pitch and conditions.
But Rasen worked well as a defensive bowling unit to restrict Bracebridge to 71 from the final 10 overs and a score of 275.
Rasen had acquitted themselves well in conditions favouring the batsmen, yet knew a strong batting performance was needed to capture any points.
The home side began in the worst possible fashion, losing two wickets inside the first two overs as Graeme Bell and Dale Christie were both bowled by pacemen Himesh Silva.
An all-too-familiar story began to unravel as Rasen found themselves 16-4.
It was left to Ian Williams and Rutherford to provide some resilience, and the former injected a little excitement into the innings by dispatching the bowlers to all parts of the ground in a confident and energetic 42.
Both batsmen lost their wickets within a few overs of each other to spell the end of the Rasen chase.
The tail provided little kick as talented spin bowler Matt Carter completed an excellent five-wicket haul to bowl Rasen out for just 88.
Despite their poor run of form, Rasen still sit mid-table and Sunday’s visit to Lindum will provide them with a chance to consolidate their position.