Up until just after 5pm on Saturday, everything pointed to Rutland’s 1st XI recording their second league win of the season.
Alfreton, the other side marooned in the Premier League’s relegation zone, were the visitors and the stars all appeared to be aligned in Rutland’s favour.
Water had seeped under the covers creating a large damp patch across the track at the Pavilion End and consequently the start was delayed by two hours and the game reduced to 33 overs per side.
The shorter contest should have suited Rutland, especially after captain Rob Green won the toss and put Alfreton in.
The bowlers did a fine job in exploiting the favourable conditions - James Lockhart clean bowling first Alfreton skipper Alex Mace and then the dangerous Andy Gwatkin for a single each.
Green too got in on the act trapping Graham Bush LBW to have Alfreton tottering at 23 for 3.
Ian Banks was brought on and he immediately accepted a caught and bowled chance to remove Tom Bentley.
Jake Simpson (15) partially halted the slide but Banks had him caught behind and spinner Danny Bobeszko struck twice in his first two overs.
Alfreton looked all but buried at 77 for 8 but Jonathon Clarke (43) rallied the tail with three sixes and the visitors closed on 119 all out from their 33 overs.
Bobeszko with two wickets in his last over ended with 4 for 29 and Banks 3 for 27.
With the wicket playing reasonably, the target looked way short of being competitive but Rutland soon found a way to make it look formidable.
David Smit swatted a loose half-tracker straight to cover and, next ball, Tom Brandrick looped a catch to mid-on.
Luke Marriott clipped a leg stump half volley to short mid-wicket, Alex Park missed an in-swinger and was given LBW then Ian Banks mis-cued a drive to point.
Within 20 minutes of the innings starting, Rutland were 11 for 5.
Some hope still remained. Alfreton’s attack is the gentlest the Premier League offers and Rob Green looked in no trouble at all.
Someone just had to stay with him. It might have been Ross Slater. The pair put on 23 for the eighth wicket before a Yes, No, Yes incident led to Slater being adjudged run out.
Green, whose 41 represented over half of his team’s total, was then bowled by Adam Burton to give the Alfreton seamer a matchwinning 5 for 31.
Rutland’s last pair did not hang around and they were bowled out for 81 from 20 overs to give Alfreton 27 points for the second time this season.
Alfreton and Ilkeston are having similarly dismal seasons with all their sides struggling.
On Saturday, the club’s respective 2nd XIs were facing each other in a bottom of the table clash in Division Four North.
Rutland were soon in the ascendancy with their opening bowlers Chris Trueman Jnr and Chris Palfreyman strangling the home side.
After 21 overs, featuring seven maidens, Alfreton had scored just 39 for 1 and it was only thanks to some late hitting from their keeper Jonathon Evans who made 50 from 56 balls that they were able to post a semi-competitive 157 for 5 from their 46 overs.
Unlike their 1st XI, Rutland’s 2nd XI did not falter in their chase. Captain Martin Brandrick showed his determination to avoid the drop with an unbeaten 52 and he was helped by Ken Seaman (25) and the in-form Palfreyman whose 53 not out came from just 46 balls.
The comfortable eight wicket win reduces the 2nd XI’s gap from safety to just seven points with a game in hand.
The 3rd XI did not need long for their match at Swanwick Hall.
A greasy wicket made life difficult for batsmen and Rutland were shot out for just 37 with Duncan Green taking 5 for 11.
An opening burst of 5 for 14 from James Brandrick had Swanwick struggling but they got home with four wickets to spare.