WHEN you are looking for a tonic, something to kick-start your season, a trip to Ockbrook is not what any doctor would recommend.
Ockbrook are the habitual favourites for the Premier League title, a team containing seven former or current county players and hungry for a victory having been held to a draw in their first game.
As if they needed it, luck too was on their side. They won the toss and had no hesitation in putting Rutland in to bat in a game that was reduced to 45 overs by morning rain.
With moisture around and the new ball in the hands of former Derbyshire pacemen Kevin Dean and Trevor Smith, batting was going to be a challenge and it proved too much for three of Rutland’s teenage protégés. Alex Park, Dan Shelton and Tom Brandrick were quickly back in the pavilion – all undone by Smith.
Looking on from the non-striker’s end was David Smit. He, at least, was in his element - swatting Dean’s first ball of the match to the boundary. If only he could find someone to stay with him...
His next three partners – Ian Banks, Luke Marriott and Martin Brandrick all made double figures and Andy Flindall even managed to out-live Smit as he scampered a useful 29 coming in at number eight.
But it was Smit to whom Ilkeston owed their respectability. He hammered ten fours and three sixes in a quality innings of 86, finally being caught on the long-on boundary with the score on 151.
Flindall continued to work the bowling around but there was no wag from the tail and Rutland were all out for 185 from 43 overs with Derbyshire’s Jake Needham taking 4 for 54.
In reply, Ockbrook lost three wickets to some challenging bowling from Rob Green, James Lockhart and Banks but an unbroken partnership of 113 between opener John Guthrie (68) and Needham (66) saw them cruise home with three overs to spare.
The next day, the 1st XI had the chance of registering a first competitive win of the season in the National Knock Out Cup but Whitley Hall from the South Yorkshire Premier League went home triumphant.
Having been put in to bat, the visitors began steadily reaching 90 for 2 in 22 overs before a spell of 4 for 15 from Ian Banks reduced them to 109 for 7.
The game changed during an eighth wicket stand of 79 between Matthew Milburn (36) and Adam Wilson (41). Chances were missed by Rutland and Whitley Hall reached 190.
A modest target soon looked like a mountainous one as Rutland, missing Smit, found themselves 17 for 5 with the top five batsmen scoring just four between them.
Luke Marriott (33) and Rob Green (33) staged a mini-revival but after Marriott was caught behind the game ended quickly with Rutland all out for 98.
The club was reminded how to win by the 2nd XI who destroyed Allestree in their Division 4 North clash at The Rec.
Having been put in to bat, the visitors struggled from the off on a lively wicket against some fine fast bowling from Chris Trueman Jnr and Chris Palfreyman.
Trueman, with 2 for 10 from nine overs, summed up the early passage of play and it got no easier for Allestree against the change bowling of Darren Cundy and Matt Wakefield. They shared six wickets between them as Allestree were all out for 79 with eight catches taken.
Rutland took just 53 minutes in closing the game out with James Brandrick (40) and stand-in skipper Damien Jones (25) making conditions look decidedly easier.
l The third XI’s game at Kirk Langley was called off by the hosts.
For a round-up of the action involving Ilkeston Rutland’s junior teams, see page 29.