Market Rasen Saturday teams had important fixtures this weekend, with the 1st XI away to Grimsby and the 2nd XI welcoming Cleethorpes Town Laportes to Rase Park.
In Grimsby, captain Matt Rutherford won the toss and elected to bowl first, looking to capitalize on the main strengths of the season so far.
In what has become customary, Rasen got off to a solid start with the opening pair of James Fussey and Paul Martin restricting Grimsby’s ability to score runs.
The breakthrough came with the first change of the morning, as Seb Darke found the outside edge of the bat putting Grimsby at 27-1.
After surviving a third wicket stand of 68, Rasen pressed home their advantage, reducing Grimsby from 111-3 to 145-9, claiming 6 wickets for the loss of only 34 runs.
This again can be attributed to an excellent fielding display, with chances taken when they presented themselves.
The partnership of Rutherford and Boryszczuk may sound like a cheesy 80s detective sitcom, but was again successful in destroying the backbone of the Grimsby batting order.
With 26 overs bowled between them, 67 runs were conceded and seven wickets taken.
With the target set at 145 off 50 overs, Rasen had again provided themselves with a winning situation well within their capabilities.
A change in the batting order this week saw the return of Dale Christie partnering opening bat Will Bradford.
Following the season’s script so far, the opening pair raced to a 40 partnership, before Christie was caught trying to push the score along.
With only one run added to the scoreboard, Bradford was caught in the same manner, reducing Rasen to 40-2. This brought the pairing of Rasen’s most resilient batsmen this season, Seb Darke and Dave Papworth, to the crease.
Knowing victory was within their grasp, they proceeded to build a match winning partnership with carefully selected shots and quick running between the wickets.
This in no short time racked up a partnership of 60, before Papworth was caught on 23 and mirroring the opening pair; Darke followed shortly after on 39, leaving Rasen still in a strong position of 112-4.
Needing only 36 for victory, and with overs to spare, Rasen once again pressed the self destruct button.
In a manner reminiscent of previous winning positions, Rasen lost their remaining 7 wickets adding only 20 runs to their score, eventually losing the game by 13 runs with 5 overs remaining.
To consistently pick up points through all games is a positive that cannot be overlooked, but game winning positions must be converted into victories if this young side wish to remain in the ECB.
One thing for sure is that Market Rasen’s players will continue to give 100 percent to ensure the potential, which can be evidenced in all the games played so far this season, is turned into a realistic league standing.
With similar pressure, the 2nd XI welcomed Laportes to Rase Park knowing only victory would be acceptable if they were to stay in touch with the championship race.
An overcast day produced excellent bowling conditions and Jono Stephenson won the toss and elected to bowl first.
The young opening partnership of Liam Entwhistle and Lee Freeman again provided an excellent foothold for Rasen to build on.
With wickets falling at regular intervals, the game was relatively even when the drinks break was taken.
Returning, the 2nd XI spin bowler Nic Keast claimed the important wicket of Laportes captain Michael Francis and grabbed another for himself shortly after to turn the game in Rasen’s favour.
The day’s bowling plaudits must be reserved for Market Rasen bowler Rory Miller, who took his season’s wickets tally into double figures, claiming four important wickets for the home side.
This reduced Laportes to a final total of 158 for 8 from their allotted 45 overs.
With a strong batting line-up, Rasen knew that partnerships were the key to a successful run chase.
Opening pair Matt Travis and Charlie Scales (19) went about this task with maturity and guile, putting a good score on the board before Charlie lost his wicket getting trapped in-front by the Laportes opening bowler.
This brought his father, Liam Scales (49), to the crease, who worked with Travis to put on Rasen’s most significant partnership and took them to the precipice of victory, before Travis was caught off the bowling of Clarke on 68.
This left only four runs to secure an important victory and this was secured with a luscious cover drive from Nic Keast to finish the game and take much needed points for Rasen.
Market Rasen 2nd XI have now lost only one game since mid April and can count themselves unlucky not to be leading the race for the title, as weather interruptions has hampered their search for points.
The key for this success can be in no small part put down to the excellent youngsters to be coming through the team; bowlers such as Rory Miller, Sam Williams, Liam Entwhistle and all rounders Charlie Scales and Nic Keast to name but a few.
Both senior sides had differing success over the weekend, and with the season defining period coming throughout July and August, Market Rasen CC will have a busy couple of months ahead.
This starts this coming Saturday, with Market Rasen 1st XI welcoming Woodhall Spa to Rase Park and the 2nd XI having a tricky visit to Nettleham.