A SOLID all round performance from Market Rasen Town Cricket Club 1st XI was too much for Keelby, as the villagers fell to a 98 run defeat at Rase Park.
The win means that Rasen’s 1st XI remain undefeated after two-thirds of their Lincolnshire League programme and on course for promotion.
The weekend was less successful for the rest of the club’s senior outfits as the 2nds lost by six wickets at Alford 2nds, the Sunday 1sts lost by 25 runs to Lindum 1sts and the Sunday 2nds saw their game abandoned.
Keelby visited Rase Park on Saturday and, having won the toss, decided to hand the home side first use of another beautiful batting track.
Will Bradford moved up to open with Graeme Bell and the young paceman took his opportunity with relish, adding 66 for the first wicket with Bell before being cleaned up by Paul Fytche for 25.
Bell continued to race on, and it was a surprise when he also fell to Fytche, stumped by Stephen Skipworth for 49, when another half-century had appeared inevitable.
Bell’s innings has taken him to the head of the division’s run-scoring charts, with 409 runs at an average of 45.
With the dismissal of Bell the home side had to rebuild and found veteran Ian Williams, 43, and Gary Bierlein, 44, in robust mood as the pair added 85 for the fourth wicket to take the game away from Keelby. Both fell in the acceleration to 200 and maximum batting points, so it was left to some lusty blows from Luke Richards, 18, and Mark Robinson to see Rasen up to an imposing 200 for 7 from their 45 overs.
Having opened the batting, Bell and Bradford opened up with the ball as well and continued their recent fine form, making immediate inroads into the visitors’ top order. Bradford bowled particularly well to pick up 3 for 18 from seven overs.
Keelby never recovered from their shaky start and, despite a valiant 27 from Matt Bevis and 22 not out from skipper Graham Avison, the home side’s attack was too good.
Gary Bierlein, 4 for 20, and brother Karl, 2 for 33, wrapped things up for Rasen as Keelby were all out for 102 in the 34th over.
The 2nd XI visited Alford on Saturday and were handed a hefty thumping by the East Lindsey side.
Invited to bat first, a callow performance with the willow led to Rasen being bundled out for 81 within 26 overs.
Only Rob Chamberlin, 23, and James Fussey, 13 not out, showed any kind of fight and it was an innings that the young Rasen lineup will want to forget.
Alford’s reply was notable for some fine bowling from the Rasen attack and some incredibly gritty batting from the home side, with them requiring 37 overs to knock off the meagre total.
Dan Norburn, 2 for 30 from 12.3 overs, and James Fussey, 1 for 12 from 10 overs, were the pick of the attack as Rasen put in a fantastic effort in the field.
Unfortunately, their efforts with the willow had left the bowlers little chance and Alford staggered over the line in the 37th over with six wickets in hand.
The Sunday 1st XI hosted Lindum 1sts and went down to a surprising defeat to the Minstermen. Rasen bowled first and bundled Lindum out for 137, thanks to 6 for 25 from Gary Bierlein.
Unfortunately, Rasen could only muster 112 all out in reply, as D. Logendran ran amuck to pick up 5 for 24.
The defeat puts a crimp in Rasen’s plans for repeating last season’s Lincoln League domination and they now have little room for error if they are to retain their title.
The Sunday 2nd XI visited Hykeham 2nds and found themselves on the way to their first victory of the season, only to have the prize cruelly snatched away by the weather.
Hykeham batted first and had a rapid 59 from Alan Ashton and 35 not out from N. Bunn to thank for their 164 all out.
Rasen’s attack was ably led by skipper Paul Bett, 4 for 37, who received fine support from Liam Entwhistle, 2 for 47, Matt Hawke, 2 for 24, and Andy Richley, 2 for 12.
Rasen’s reply saw Rob Cook and Liam Underwood blaze away under the looming storm clouds and the pair’s fine start saw Rasen speed to 48 for 1 in six overs before the rain came and brought an early close to proceedings.
This weekend sees no cricket at Rase Park, with the 1st XI visiting Brigg Road for a Lincs League 2 title decider with Caistors 2nds (1.30pm start) and the Sunday 1st XI travelling to Martin, looking for a win to get the second half of their season on track (2pm start).