Rutland’s tough start continues (with slideshow)

Changeable weather, a shortened game but the same result for Ilkeston Rutland’s struggling first XI.

For the fourth consecutive game, they batted first and, as with their previous efforts, they posted an inadequate total.

Ilkestons Michael Chambers guides the ball down to thirdman.

Ilkestons Michael Chambers guides the ball down to thirdman.

This time, they were put in by visitors and Division One leaders Duffield, and with rain clouds already threatening, captain David Smit shuffled the order, holding himself back.

The start of the game was marred by the weather - four breaks in the first two-and-a-half hours, but when play was possible it was Duffield who made the most progress.

In seamer friendly conditions, they removed Rutland’s new top three for 22 runs and then broke a threatening partnership between Smit and Luke Marriott.

The prize wicket of Smit (his fourth consecutive dismissal in the teens) went to medium pacer Adam Short who induced an outside edge to put Rutland on 57 for 5.

A confident sixth wicket stand of 47 between Ian Banks (18) and Rob Green (38) took the score past the hundred mark but when the latter miscued a drive over the infield, the end was nigh and Rutland declared on 124 for 9.

Defending so little required a good start and Rutland would rue missed chances in the early overs.

Their performance only moved up a gear when ex-Derbyshire batsman James Pipe under-edged an attempted pull and was well caught behind by Vic Pilbeam off Green.

By then Duffield were already halfway to their target and opener Chris Sheldon was batting with more ease than anyone else.

Green finally got him for 49 and followed up with another wicket with his next ball to give him figures of 4 for 50.

With Green’s spell over, Banks (3 for 30) continued to pose a threat but Duffield clung on with Peter Jenkins (20 not out) securing a two-wicket win.

Bitter wind and rain greeted Rutland’s 2nd XI at Belper Amateurs on Saturday.

After a delayed start, Rutland put their hosts into bat for a 35 over game and maintained a good grip on proceedings until the final ten overs.

Bryan Smith (2 for 32), spinning into the wind, was the pick of the bowlers and only 47 not out off 27 balls from Paul Spencer helped Belper to 136 for 6.

Rutland were well placed to win the game after a 83-run stand for the second wicket between Ken Seaman (43) and Gary Hickinbotham (39).

But once they were gone, it was backs to the wall time yet again, and, for the third week running, some grim last wicket blocking was required to preserve the unbeaten record.

Rutland’s 3rd XI were bowled out for just 71 at Gallows by South Wingfield with only Lee Bradley (29) and Ainsley Hallam (12 not out) reaching double figures.

A miserable May day was capped by the visitors knocking off their target without loss.

There was success for one Rutland side - their Under 15s won a thriller by three runs against local rivals Nutbrook.

Rutland scored 104 for 5 from their 20 overs with Matt Parry and Sam Purdy both unbeaten on 51 and 23 respectively.

It proved just too many for Nutbrook who closed on 101 for 4.