Ilkeston Rutland’s first XI moved themselves out of Division One’s relegation zone with a convincing winning draw at Staveley Welfare on Saturday.
Heavy rain in the week meant a wet wicket and a soggy outfield but these conditions were not reflected in the scoring which was breezy after Rutland were asked to bat.
For the first time this season, they started well with captain David Smit dominating a 77-run stand alongside Michael Chambers (17) as Staveley struggled with both line and length.
The home side then found themselves back in the game after Chambers snicked a lifting ball from the energetic seam of Sam Hardwick and Luke Marriott was bowled by a Chris Bullimore off break.
In his next over, Bullimore dived low to his left and clung onto a drive from Smit who had just brought up a run-a-ball 50 with a pulled six and shortly afterwards Darren Cundy was given LBW, padding up to a Hardwick inswinger.
At 87 for 4 in the 21st over, Rutland’s innings stood on the precipice but it was given real substance by an 88-run stand between Rob Green (35) and Ian Banks (44).
The latter was in particularly fluent form, with two sixes, one effortlessly lifting Bullimore back over his head, and seven boundaries.
He was robbed of a half-century in freakish circumstances - caught and bowled after top edging a short ball from the South African seamer Jaco van Niekerk onto his helmet.
It prompted another mini-collapse with Green’s departure with ten overs remaining, denying Rutland the chance to go for 225 and maximum batting points.
In the event, 197 soon looked like a mountainous total after Staveley managed just 33 from their first 20 overs against disciplined bowling.
Green’s first ten overs included eight maidens and two victims - both caught in the slips.
At the other end, Chris Trueman Jnr and then Banks were equally accurate and Staveley were gradually fading away - 50 for 5 at the half way stage.
Chambers also had success taking two wickets in a short spell, and only van Niekerk looked capable of taking the fight to Rutland, hitting Banks for a colossal six onto the A619.
Had Rutland clung on to the one sharp chance he offered, a 27-point win would have been likely but he remained unbeaten on 52 and Staveley closed on 128 for 7, taking eight points to Rutland’s 16.
Rutland’s second and third XIs enjoyed contrasting fortunes when they took on Selston’s first and second XIs.
In Division Five North, the second XI continued to struggle.
A fighting display with the bat brought them a total of 129 for 7 with David Robinson (36) and Richard Kelleher (40) leading the way.
But their lack of batting depth breeds an understandable caution and such slow run rates rarely bring victories batting first.
Selston wobbled. Three wickets fell quickly, Joe Bird clean bowling both openers, but they were steadied by Chris Knighton (48) and James Bailey (36) to emerge as five wicket winners.
Meanwhile, Rutland’s third string were dominating Selston’s second in the Division Nine North clash.
Batting first, the visitors made 191 for 8 with Kyle Madison (53) making a second half century of the season and everyone else contributing.
Selston, who topped the table before the game, never looked capable of getting close against an accurate and varied attack who sent down 16 maidens as the home side crawled to 77 for 8.
Chief frustrator was opening batsman Bradley Mee whose 19 took 123 balls.
Rutland’s 19 point winning draw takes them to fourth in the table.