MARKET Rasen Town Cricket Club 1st XI capped an undefeated season in the Lincolnshire League with a five wicket win at promotion-chasing Alkborough 2nds on Saturday to kick-start another successful weekend for the club.
Following in their wake; the 2nd XI cantered to a 156 run victory over Holton le Clay 2nds to go second in Division Four and the Sunday 1st XI thrashed the ball to all corners of Rase Park against Boston 1sts to win by 63 runs and maintain their Lincoln Sunday League Premier Division title challenge.
Having been put into bat, Alkborough’s openers dug themselves in for the long haul and put in a creditable shift against the division’s best bowling attack, with Neil Gray and Steve Kirman accumulating 142 for the first wicket.
While all of the Rasen bowling was economical, missed chances meant the side found it hard work and it wasn’t until Gary Bierlein trapped Neil Gray LBW for 65 that Rasen made a breakthrough.
With Gray dismissed, Gary and Karl Bierlein started to work their way through the rest of the Alkborough line-up.
However, Steve Kirman, 77 not out, carried his bat to see the home side to 175 for 5 from their 45 overs.
Graeme Bell, 30, and Jon Stephenson, 39, gave Rasen a positive start which Will Bradford, 51, then cemented with his maiden 1st XI half-century to put Rasen within touching distance.
A late flurry of wickets brought Alkborough back into the game, but Gary Bierlein, 18 not out, held his nerve to see Rasen to a five wicket victory in the final over.
Their win at Alkborough means that the 1st XI are the only Lincolnshire League side to remain undefeated in 2011, which is testament to the ability and character the side have shown this season and will stand them in good stead for 2012’s Division One campaign.
The 2nd XI kept their faint promotion hopes alive on Saturday as they entertained Holton le Clay 2nds at Rase Park.
A solid all-round batting performance against a Holton le Clay side who were never really at the races saw Rasen post 219 for 8 from their 45 overs, with Tom Bradford’s run-a-ball 40 not out the fulcrum of the side’s acceleration in the final overs.
Dan Norburn, 4 for 16 from 11 overs, and James Fussey, 1 for 14 from six overs, were both parsimonious and penetrating, with Holton le Clay reduced to 42 for 5 once the pair had finished their opening spells.
Spin twins Ivan Nash, 1 for 4, and Andy Richley, 3 for 6, then delivered the coup de grace to dismiss Holton le Clay for 63 in the 31st over.
The win finished Rasen’s campaign in style and sends them into second place in Division Four, five points ahead of Alford 2nds.
However, Alford have one home game remaining and will be promoted instead of Rasen if they can claim six points, or more, when they host Caistor 3rds on Saturday.
The Sunday 1st XI hosted Boston 1sts, looking to haul themselves back into the Lincoln Premier Division title race and they did so in some style, thanks to a super innings from Luke Robinson.
The 17-year-old had already taken a ton off the Boston attack in the ECB Premier League for Lindum this season and he tucked into their bowling attack again, smashing 108 not out from only 60 deliveries.
Robinson’s innings saw him take on county bowlers Colin Cheer and Tom Baxter and the teenager showed them no mercy, smiting a number of massive sixes out of the ground.
The youngster received excellent support from Graeme Bell, 44, and Matt Rutherford, 49, with whom he put on a century partnership as Rasen posted an intimidating 261 for 4 from their 40 overs.
Jon Cheer got Boston’s reply off to a rapid start, but when he’d holed out to a long-hop from Matt Hamilton for 29, the responsibility for keeping up with the run-rate fell on Matt Ward’s shoulders.
The Aussie hit a brisk 60 to keep his side’s hopes alive, but once he fell, nicking off to Gary Bierlein, Boston were struggling to stay in the game.
Tom Baxter posted a half-century for Boston, but it wasn’t enough as Simon Bunn, 3 for 43, and Matt Rutherford, 3 for 34, bowled Rasen to a vital win.
Boston now need six points from their final league game to clinch the title, but following their earlier aberrations, Rasen will be delighted to have taken them to the last weekend of the season and the win lays down a marker for this weekend’s Major Hoult Cup Final, which the two teams contest at Boston.
The Sunday 2nd XI’s recent revival in form hit the buffers at Bardney, as the young side slipped to a 102 run defeat.
Gavin Korytnickyj picked up another haul of wickets as Rasen bowled their hosts out for 135.
However, the batting failed to fire as Rasen were dismissed for 33 all out.
This weekend sees the Sunday 1st XI heading to Boston for the aforementioned Major Hoult Cup Final and the Sunday 2nd XI finish their maiden Lincoln League campaign at Rase Park against Hykeham 2nds. Both matches start at 1.30pm.