Market Rasen Town Cricket Club’s 1st XI picked up where they had left off before their cup diversion, maintaining their 100 per cent record in the Lincolnshire League by wrapping up a routine seven wicket win over Haxey on the Isle of Axeholme.
On a breezy, overcast day, Captain Simon Bunn was grateful to lose the toss, with the home side acting as desired by having a bat.
Graeme Bell and Bunn opened and the pair set about tying Haxey’s openers up in knots. Whilst the batsmen dug in resolutely, neither was able to get the ball off the square and Bell, in particular, had them playing and missing with astonishing regularity.
Haxey had managed to lift the run rate to nearly two an over, when Bell finally received something for his efforts, inducing Jeremy Evans to edge to the keeper, Mark Robinson.
Unfortunately for Rasen, far from opening the floodgates, this simply encouraged Haxey to dig in further and saw them reach the halfway mark on 35 for 2.
After drinks Bell continued his marathon spell, bowling off a shortened run-up, the all-rounder was having his best spell of the season so far and was incredibly unfortunate to finish with only 1 for 19 from his 13 overs.
With Bell seen off Haxey looked to press on against his replacement, Karl Bierlein. Unfortunately, the home side could only watch as their batting lineup was dismantled by an excellent spell of spin bowling from Bierlein. The league’s leading wicket-taker took his tally for the season to 22 by grabbing 6 for 11 with some exquisite work.
The two finest examples were firstly, his ball to remove Paul Bradley; the delivery moved enough to take the edge and feather a difficult chance through to slip, where Ian Williams made a hard catch look effortless. Secondly, the ball which removed Ethan Tonks; this pulled the batsman forward, took a faint outside edge, followed by his off peg.
Amongst the carnage only Haxey’s captain, Steve Ryan, stood firm with a well compiled 30. Ryan made the most of being dropped at gulley first ball and played a resolute hand, whilst taking his opportunities to score whilst he could, until he was the sixth man to fall, to a smart stumping by Mark Robinson off Bierlein’s bowling.
Gary Bierlein, 2 for 7, came on to help his brother bring the Haxey innings to a close, with Rasen bowling the home side out for 83 in the 37th over.
With a nominal 52 overs in which to knock off the runs, Bell opened intent on using up as little time as possible to chase down the target.
His nine-ball 20 had seen him unfurl a couple of crunching drives and some nice shots off the back foot, but it was brought to a premature close when a short ball stuck in the pitch and left him with little choice but to simply place the ball in the hands of mid-wicket.
With Stephenson adjudged LBW shortly afterwards to reduce Rasen to 30 for 2, there was a brief flutter of consternation on the visiting side’s balcony.
Ian Williams put paid to any doubts with a stylish and rapid 52. With eight fours and a six, the side’s veteran stroke-maker dominated a weak Haxey attack to quell any doubts that Rasen might have had, handing them a victory that was wrapped up within 18 overs.
Rasen’s 2nd XI hosted Broughton 2nds in Lincs League 4 and received an 81 run thrashing at the hands of the divisional leaders.
A young Rasen side, shorn of their first choice attack, did a brilliant job with the ball, bowling Broughton out for 120. Will Sutton, 14 years old and playing his first senior game for the club, gave the home side a wonderful start with 1 for 12 from his six overs.
This was then backed up by fellow 14–year–old Seb Darke, who grabbed 3 for 15 from his six overs and 3 for 27 from Graham Charman.
With the rest of the attack claiming a wicket apiece and Rasen outstanding in the field, spirits were high as an early tea was taken. Unfortunately the home side capitulated with the bat, with only captain Ivan Nash reaching double figures as a characterless performance with the bat saw them dismissed for 39 in the 16th over.
On Saturday the 1st XI host Alkborough 2nds and the 2nds travel to Hykeham 2nds in the Lincolnshire League (both 1.30pm starts) and on Sunday the Sunday 1st XI travel to Nettleham and the Sunday 2nd XI host Rustons (both 2pm starts).