LOSING two wickets in the final over is becoming an unfortunate habit for Ilkeston Rutland who did it again on Saturday to hit rock bottom in the Derbyshire Premier League.
If the previous week’s disaster could be blamed on the high octane atmosphere of an unbelievable run chase, this time there were no such excuses.
They simply needed a losing draw to keep themselves above opponents Alfreton and with three wickets in hand and seven balls remaining what could possibly go wrong?
Even when James Lockhart, solid for 11 overs, chipped a catch to mid-off from the final ball of the 49th over, there was nothing in Alfreton’s step that suggested a first win of the season was on their horizon.
In fact, so sure was he that the game was a dull draw, Alfreton’s captain Alex Mace brought himself on to bowl his first over of the entire season.
Somebody should have told him that Rutland don’t do dull. Tragedy, oh yes, but not dull.
On the fourth ball, Luke Marriott, who had batted sensibly for 75 minutes in saving the game, pushed one out into the leg side.
There was nothing to be gained by running and perhaps had more experienced heads been present Marriott would have tapped his crease and waited for the next ball.
But he and partner Danny Bobeszko hesitated then set off for two only for Bobeszko to be run out.
Having excited everyone by reaching their last wicket, Rutland were then undone by the umpire who gave Marriott LBW to the very last ball, setting off wild celebrations among the home players and fans.
Earlier in the day, the home side had made 253 for 6 from their 50 overs after being put in to bat.
Their opening pair were dour but defiant in reaching 61 for the first wicket before youngster Jake Simpson holed out to Marriott from David Smit’s bowling.
Veteran Graham Bush was then joined by Andy Gwatkin and they took the score to 146 when Bush was bowled by Rob Green for 64.
With a solid platform beneath them Alfreton kicked on in the final 15 overs, adding 106 to their score with Gwatkin’s unbeaten 89 including ten fours and a six.
Rutland’s reply suffered a severe jolt in the 2nd over when David Smit was given LBW to Adam Burton.
It was left to his opening partner Alex Park to weather the storm along with Martin Brandrick who hit six boundaries in his 27 before being caught off Burton with the score on 50.
They were soon 88 for 4 with 30 overs remaining and the ease with which their youngsters extracted themselves from this hole is encouraging.
Park followed up on his first Premier half-century last week with a 58 and Danny Shelton and Marriott put on 54 for the sixth wicket. Shelton was particularly fluent in his 41.
They will have to take heart from this as they battle for their place in the top flight.
l It was not all doom and gloom for the 1st XI last week as they reached the semi-final of the 20:20 Jackson Cup on Wednesday night with a 46-run win over Stainsby Hall.
David Smit with 54 from 38 balls and Darren Cundy with 31 from 20 got the home side off to a flying start and a target of 158 proved far too many for Stainsby.
After Danny Bobeszko had spun down four overs for just 13 runs, Cundy the bowler poached four wickets as Stainsby tried, unsuccessfully, to up the tempo. Rutland now face Spondon at Denby on the evening of June 29.
Sadly, their run in the Premier League Cup is over thanks to the weather and a flawed group system.
Both they and last year’s winners Mansfield Hosiery Mills exited the competition, despite winning their only game, after rain washed out Sunday’s final round of group matches.
Rutland’s 3rd XI were the only other adult team to play as the 2nd XI missed out due to the Carnival.
They elected to bat against Swanwick Hall at Gallows and were struggling at 9 for 2 after six overs when Jeffrey Dunbar joined Ross Slater.
They put on 151 for the third wicket with Dunbar, stoic in defence and swashbuckling in attack, making 72.
Slater reached 105 in partnership with Aaron Cooke who blasted 25 from just 18 balls to lift Rutland to 224 for 6.
Swanwick struggled to keep up with the required rate once Danny Law had bowled their skipper Richard Sharpe (26) with a slower ball.
Tom Bobeszko’s left arm spin kept up the pressure with 3 for 41 and Swanwick closed on 184 for 7. The winning draw lifts Rutland out of the Division 8 North relegation zone.
Rutland’s junior sides continue to top the Erewash U17 and U15 tables after both sides kept their 100 per cent records intact....but only just.
George Brandrick (34) and Adam Slater (29) shared a 50-run partnership for the U15s at Nutbrook but the home side would have been delighted to restrict Rutland to only 84 for 4 from their 20 overs.
It looked below par when Harry Cooke raced to 27 at a run-a-ball but Brandrick trapped him LBW enabling his side to restrict the run-rate.
Matt Noon (25) and Callum Rowland (22) kept Nutbrook’s candle alight and they needed 12 from the final over. Billy Padgett held his nerve, clean bowled Rowland and Nutbrook finished four runs short.
The U17s found themselves in real strife at 28 for 5 in the ninth over against West Hallam at the Rec on Monday night after Josh Bostock claimed 4 for 3 from a 16-ball spell.
They were saved by Adam Slater who hit 51 from just 33 balls including three sixes to lift Rutland to a semi-respectable 101 for 8.
Harry Andrew (37) and Bostock (25 not out) kept West Hallam in contention but it seemed the game was slipping away from them with 27 required from two overs.
Harry Page then launched a last minute counter attack against Cory Kennedy and had he not been caught on the square leg boundary by Alex Watson West Hallam might have triumphed.
Watson then bowled an exemplary final over to leave Rutland winners by seven runs.
The U13s game against Sandiacre was rained off on Sunday morning but not before Kai Grant had found his form with the bat hitting an unbeaten 25 against one of the best junior attacks around.