The Gods took care of Ilkeston Rutland on Bank Holiday weekend, providing not only perfect weather for their annual Fun Day but a liberal sprinkling of minor miracles to give them a win double on Saturday.
Firstly, a player crisis was averted when Holmewood, hosts to the ill-fated second XI, rang to say their pitch was flooded.
Then more extraordinary happenings culminated in the unlikeliest of first XI victories when Danny Bobeszko, a batting clown to this point, turned into a prince to down Quarndon.
The visitors decided to bat first on a slow wicket not conducive to run flow. The scores never got above three per over but the sleepiness of it all was punctured by a series of surprises.
For Rutland these came in the field. Ross Slater, whose palms have been buttered for much of the summer, held two catches as the top order dared to drive at Ian Banks on such a sticky surface.
One was the dangerous Nathan Dumelow and he joined their batsman of the season Raja Sohail Haider who had dragged a ball onto his stumps as he tried to cut Chris Trueman’s medium pacers.
Spin also proved effective. John Trueman picked up two wickets and the tail was mopped up slowly but surely by Bobeszko who finished with 4-32.
Chasing 149 to win was never going to be a formality on a wicket ideally suited to Quarndon’s main threat - the spin of Haider and Dumelow.
David Smit was first to go for 18 to Dumelow who then trapped Banks LBW before Green drove Haider straight to mid-on.
John Trueman made 39 but Luke Marriott and Slater then departed in quick succession.
David Robinson’s cameo of 24 ended with him run out and then Chris Trueman was caught, and Rutland were eight down with 20 required from the final two overs.
It was time for David to take on Goliath - Haider, the division’s fourth highest wicket taker, throwing his mysterious flat spinners down at Bobeszko, whose previous 34 trips to the wicket had brought him just 77 first XI runs.
Only the clatter of stumps was expected but Bobeszko launched the second ball back over Haider’s head and the boundary rope as his team-mates cheered on the balcony.
Twelve were still required from nine balls, but the buzzing Bobeszko and the leggy Joe Bird proceeded to run them ragged with twos bringing up the most welcome of wins with a ball to spare.
The 27-point victory means Rutland are now less than 20 points from third in the table and capable of a rousing finish.
Rutland’s 3rd XI overcame Nutbrook emphatically after putting their hosts in to bat.
Nutbrook made 117, Tom Lowe and Ainsley Hallam having initially reduced them to 44-6.
Rutland’s chase was led by a man who had risen from retirement - Andy Flindall. His 54, featuring 11 boundaries and a six, made light of the target and he was supported by Lee Bradley on 21.
Sunday witnessed Rutland’s annual Fun Day with 12 teams competing for the title of champions in front of several hundred spectators.
Last year’s winners, Sam’s Sloggers, were blitzed in the semi-final by Nutbrook who then somehow lost the final to a team called Not The Real A. Cook, whose stars were Aidan Smith and Rob Green and captained by Aaron Cook.