Ilkeston Rutland’s run of poor form continued on Saturday when they were well beaten at the Rec by last season’s champions Lullington Park.
Captain Rob Green won the toss and elected to bat but disaster struck almost immediately when David Smit edged the third delivery of the match to second slip.
It was dream stuff for the visitors. Smit, memorably, hit them for 191 at their place and their relief was evident.
The dismissal brought together Alex Park and Luke Marriott, both youngsters who are tantalisingly close to doing really well at this level.
They put on 41 before Marriott (12) was caught at mid-on. Seamer Graham Dent then removed captain Rob Green and Tom Brandrick in quick succession to give himself the first four wickets and leave Rutland in trouble at 55 for 4.
Their recovery was led by the in-form Andy Flindall who, together with the resilient Park, put on 102 for the fifth wicket to leave the innings teetering on the edge of success.
Lullington’s spinner Graham Chapman had been having a Saturday to forget - milked for seven overs but after having Park stumped for 45 he turned suddenly into a match-winner.
In his next over he removed Ian Banks, James Lockhart and Ken Seaman. None of them troubled the scorer and Rutland had imploded in the space of 13 balls from 157 for 4 to 159 for 8.
Flindall richly deserved a 50 but he succumbed for 48 and Rutland were all out for 172 in the 47th over with Chapman taking 6 for 50.
The total owed a great deal to the extras column - 55 in all, much appreciated.
Lullington always looked likely to reach the target with openers Andy Goodwin (20) and James Doherty setting a platform.
Lockhart briefly troubled them, removing Goodwin and following that up with two more wickets in quick succession.
But from 65 for 3, Lullington’s Johnny Shales took the game away from Rutland smashing an unbeaten 74 from 48 balls.
Doherty was unbeaten on 38 as the pair passed the winning post with 15 overs and seven wickets to spare.
The defeat, coupled with a surprise 22-point win for Rolls Royce against Dunstall, leaves Rutland 80 points from safety with five games to go.
Rutland’s 2nd XI were in trouble from the start against promotion-seeking Marehay 2nd XI - collapsing to 7 for 3.
Only the middle order pair of Ryan Clarke (36) and Richard Kelleher were able to put some sort of flesh on the bone of their innings.
Kelleher finally ran out of partners on 60 as Rutland bowled out for an inadequate 137. Marehay pace bowler Chris Bradder ended with 5 for 25 from 13 overs.
Chris Palfreyman gave Rutland some hope with two wickets in his first over but after that it was one-way traffic with Mark Pykett (58 from 56 balls) and Tom Burke (66 from 44) laying waste to Rutland’s bowlers.
The eightwicket defeat makes next week’s clash with bottom club Alfreton 2nd XI a must win game in the Division 4 North survival stakes.
Rutland’s 3rd XI again came closest to glory but left Gallows with a soggy roll-up rather than a fat cigar.
They rallied well to score 181 for 9 against Pilsley with five batsmen all passing 20 - a good sign for the future.
The total might have been enough had catches been held but Pilsley’s captain Gareth Hatton (87) proved impossible to dismiss and not even a late burst of spin from Jeff Dunbar (3 for 3) could wrest the game back.
Pilsley won by three wickets, and Rutland will need a miraculous finish to dodge the drop.