Ilkeston prove too good for Alfreton

Ilkeston bowler Sam Moulds (right) sends down a delivery to Alfreton batsman Alex Mace during the clash at the Rec on Saturday.
Ilkeston bowler Sam Moulds (right) sends down a delivery to Alfreton batsman Alex Mace during the clash at the Rec on Saturday.

The two sides relegated from the Premier League last season clashed at the Rec on Saturday and it was Ilkeston Rutland who triumphed, easing to an eight-wicket win.

Their victory was set up by the bowling of Ian Banks who exploited the wet, seaming conditions in his customary manner, taking 5 for 30 as the Alfreton struggled to score runs without taking risks.

The visitors were asked to bat first and had begun solidly if unspectacularly against the new ball, reaching 37 before Sam Moulds induced an edge from Ryan Bramwell at the start of the 16th over.

Banks was soon brought into the attack and struck with his third ball, having the other opener Jake Simpson caught by David Smit.

His methodical line and length allowed the overs to pass by almost as quicky as the score itself and by drinks Alfreton were re-building at a snail’s pace having made just 48.

They then lost the dangerous Andy Gwatkin, LBW to Banks for 28, and it was only a gritty innings from their captain Alex Mace (39 not out) that helped them to 128 for 8 after their 50 overs.

To have any chance at all, they needed to remove Smit early. They didn’t and his innings made light of any talk of the pitch being particularly venemous.

He hit an unbeaten 75, including seven fours and four sixes, putting on 98 for the second wicket with Luke Marriott (30), and Rutland won with more than 20 overs to spare.

The man of the match was Banks, officially the club’s 2nd XI captain.

There are clearly plenty of wickets left in the man who has been Rutland’s best all-rounder of the modern era, and his self-imposed demotion looks to be premature.

He topped the 1st XI bowling averages in 2011 and, with a wet May forecast, he may yet prosper in 2012.

The win keeps Rutland in touch with the leaders of Division One and this Saturday they travel to Marehay.

l On Sunday, the 1st XI suffered their first defeat of the season - beaten by 48 runs by Loughborough in the first round of the ECB National Knockout Cup.

Whatever the reason, this competition always comes way down Rutland’s priority list and a third consecutive first round exit bore testimony to this.

Catching errors were largely to blame for allowing Loughborough to post 197 for 8 from their 45 overs.

A tidy opening spell from Michael Chambers had seen Rutland make a good start but from 48 for 4 from 19 overs, the visitors recovered thanks to an unbeaten 74 from Robert Cook.

Rutland’s reply started badly with the top four all departing cheaply but Martin Brandrick (38) and David Robinson (13) steadied the innings and when Smit came in at number seven they needed 125 from the last 20 overs.

This was well within Smit’s capability and he made a third consecutive half-century to give Rutland hope.

However, none of the lower order managed to score a run and Smit was the last to go for 61.

Second XI

There was no cricket for Rutland’s 2nd XI. Their opponents Ambergate saw their ground totally flooded by the April rains and a pumping operation to drain the pitch failed to beat the weather.

Third XI

Rutland’s 3rd XI, who collapsed so dramatically in their first fixture, found runs easier to come by against Mickleover 3rd XI at Gallows and their team, comprising six juniors, won convincingly by 155 runs.

Batting first, Rutland lost both openers cheaply but Joe Bird and Adam Slater added 64 for the third wicket before Slater fell for 30.

Bird then added 94 with Grant Robertson (33) and he eventually fell eight runs short of what would have been his maiden century, having hit nine fours and two sixes.

Captain Jeff Dunbar declared at 213 for 9 after 42 overs allowing his bowlers more time to dismiss Mickleover. It wasn’t necessary in the end as Mickleover survived just 26 overs, being bowled out for 58.

Ainsley Hallam (2 for 11) struck first thanks to a brilliant one-handed catch by George Brandrick at gully and then spinner Richard Siddons claimed 4 for 12 to blow away the middle order.

Fittingly it was captain Dunbar who claimed the final two wickets to seal a 27 point win which takes Rutland to second spot in the early Division Nine North table.