Struggling Ilkeston Rutland’s hopes of avoiding relegation from Division One of the Derbyshire County League were dealt a near-fatal blow at the weekend when their must-win match at Alfreton was washed out.
Because Alfreton are the team directly above them in the table, victory was essential. But the cancellation meant both sides picked up only six points and leaves Rutland fully 31 points from safety, in need of a miracle to stay afloat.
This coming Saturday, they must somehow beat tabletopping Dunstall, who will be visiting the Rec needing a win themselves to guarantee their return to the Premier Division.
And even if Rutland do conjure up a giantkilling, they would still require bottom club Sawley and Long Eaton Park to get the better of Alfreton in their weekend clash. That would give the Ilkeston outfit a fighting chance of overhauling their rivals on the final day of the campaign the following Saturday when they travel to play Alrewas, while Alfreton themselves go to Dunstall and Sawley entertain Duffield.
Meanwhile Rutland 2nd were also thwarted by the rain in their bid to escape Division Six South’s relegation zone. Their home game against Rolls-Royce was washed out, leaving them 19 points from safety and in need of positive results from their last two games against mid-table sides to give themselves any chance.
Should both teams go down, it will mean the club has suffered six relegations in six years since the first team dropped out of the Premier Division in 2011.
However, the disappointment will be offset by their forthcoming merger with Stanton Elks, which will come into effect before the start of next season. While Rutland were rueing their luck with Saturday’s weather, Elks were guaranteeing promotion to Division Five with a Sunday win over West Hallam and are now eyeing the title.