MATTHEW Rutherford’s first game in charge of Market Rasen Cricket Club’s 1st XI resulted in a baptism of fire for the talented all-rounder.
On a day where torrential rain lay all around, Horncastle was an oasis of blue skies and whispy white cloud on Saturday, allowing this Lincolnshire County Cricket League Division One match to take place.
Faced with a wicket that offered plenty to the bowlers, Rutherford lost little time in choosing to field first on winning the toss, but found his seam bowlers frustrated by Horncastle’s opening pair.
In a stand that was, in retrospect, to seal the match, openers Phil Roberts and Nick Paige put on 39 before the wickets started to tumble.
Rutherford himself got things rolling and he was backed up by 1st XI debutant, James Fussey, who claimed his maiden first team scalp. Karl Bierlein then joined forces with Rutherford and the spin twins were too much for the home side’s batsman, bundling the hosts out for 81 in the 32nd over. Bierlein finished with 4 for 15 and Rutherford with 5 for 28.
With the sun out and 58 overs with which to chase down the runs Rasen’s sizeable following was ill-prepared for what was to follow, as Rasen were dismissed for a paltry 45.
Only Dale Christie and Rutherford managed to get into double-figures, as Phil Roberts, 6 for 23, and Peter Jackson, 4 for 21, exploited the wearing wicket and a callow Rasen batting performance.
Rather than snatching defeat from the jaws of victory the visitors grabbed it with both hands and clung onto it tightly, lest Horncastle attempt to wrestle it back.
Saturday’s reverse means that Rutherford’s men can afford no further slip-ups if they are to meet their pre-season target of promotion from Division One, starting with their visit to top of the table Bracebridge Heath 2nds this Saturday, which has now become a must-win game for the Rase Park outfit.
Saturday’s other match sees the 2nd XI host Keelby 2nds at Rase Park. Both games start at 1.30pm.
The Sunday 1st XI have another week off in the Lincoln League, whilst the Sunday 2nd XI head to Aisthorpe, 2pm start.
And finally, tonight sees the 2nd XI finally play their Bob Welton Cup Quarter-Final at Barton Town 2nds, with the side facing a Twenty20 shootout for a semi-final spot, 6.15pm start.