Catastrophic start costs Rutland dear

Ilkeston batsman Michael Chambers aims to put runs on the board at Duffield on Saturday. (NBEN 26-7-14 JC 3)
Ilkeston batsman Michael Chambers aims to put runs on the board at Duffield on Saturday. (NBEN 26-7-14 JC 3)
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Health and safety guidelines make it clear that on days of excessive sunshine, it is inadvisable to linger too long under its deadly rays.

On Saturday, with clear skies and temperatures soaring towards 30 degrees, Ilkeston Rutland batted like men who’d taken the guidance all too literally.

After being put in to bat at Duffield, only two of their top seven lasted longer than six balls. You could have timed an egg by their period away from the shade of the dressing room, although some eggs would have been a bit runny.

Captain David Smit started this quick procession - bowled through the gate by the game’s first ball; Ian Banks wafted and snicked in the following over then Luke Marriott steered a wide full toss to third slip.

The insanity continued in the fourth over with Rutland’s number five Rob Green flaying four boundaries from Joe Woznicka-Wells.

Anyone turning up might have thought they were watching a prototype for a new 10:10 format for cricket.

Things did settle down a little. Opener Michael Chambers continued to bat as though it were a normal game of 50-over league cricket and some singles were taken.

But after taking five of these in a row, Green couldn’t resist another assault on Woznicka-Wells and edged behind to leave Rutland 55 for 4 in the 12th over.

Within three overs, this had become 67 for 6 as two more batsmen came and went and the entire innings was wrapped up for just 100 in the 26th over with Woznicka-Wells taking 5 for 56.

Chambers, the only man to survive in the sunshine, was the ninth wicket to fall, for 30 from 78 balls. Whisper it, but on Monday, he did report the effects of sunstroke...

But gaining just one point from an eight wicket defeat is no laughing matter and puts Rutland back into the relegation zone - their decent run interrupted by last Saturday’s storms.

After Matlock at the Rec next week, their next three games are all high stakes encounters against their relegation rivals and their batsmen must perform.

Of the 91 half-centuries hit in Divsion One this season, just three have been scored by Rutland. Even in their horror season of 2011 when they dropped from the Premier League with a record points low, they managed ten half centuries and two tons.

Rutland 2nd XI’s match against Belper Amateurs at the Rec followed a familiar pattern - a losing draw rescued just after they’d become favourites to win the game.

The visitors batted first and lost both their openers cheaply to a searching new ball spell from Joe Bird (4 for 69).

Experienced hands Steve Dymond and John Beard halted the slide with a century stand for the third wicket before the latter was well caught in the deep by Lewis Jones for 46.

Dymond, however, played a captain’s innings, batting until the penultimate over for 119 from 125 balls to set his side up with a total of 231 for 7.

After losing one early wicket, Rutland slowly built a solid foundation with Gary Hickinbotham and David Robinson adding 58 before the captain was given LBW for 27.

The scent of victory began to be sensed by the spectators during a thrilling third wicket stand of 82 in ten overs between Robinson and teenager Matt Parry.

The target had become 83 at a run-a-ball when over-excitement cost Rutland dear.

In the space of ten balls the match was transformed by successive run-outs of both the set batsmen - Robinson for 79 and Parry for 24.

The lower middle order folded dramatically to the medium-paced Oliver Deeming (4 for 35) and it was left to Richard Siddons (18 not out) and young Adam Ball (7 not out) to save the game with stoic defence for the last nine overs.

Ilkeston Rutland’s 3rd XI kept up their promotion push, winning by eight wickets at South Wingfield.

The home side were rocked early on by the swing of Sam Purdy which accounted for both openers and their total of 152 for 9 from 46 overs represented a recovery. For Rutland, Purdy completed his second five wicket haul of the season and Kyle Madison took 3 for 25.

The target was comfortably overhauled without any of the usual drama associated with a Rutland chase.

James Fearnside batted through for an unbeaten 44 and Madison provided the fireworks with 61 including nine fours and three sixes.

The chasing pack remain hot on the 3rd XI’s heels but they remain in poll position to escape from Nine North.