With struggling Staveley Welfare visiting the Rec, this promised to be the weekend when Ilkeston Rutland’s first XI re-established themselves amongst the front runners in Division One.
In the event they were comprehensively turned over by their opponents who won the toss, stuck Rutland in to bat and took full advantage of the seaming conditions.
Ricky Arnell trapped Michael Chambers in front for a duck and later in the same over he clean bowled Luke Marriott without scoring.
Rutland soon became 15 for 3 when Damien Jones fenced at a wide one and was caught at slip.
With Matt Wakefield on the injury list, Sam Moulds was elevated to number five and together with David Smit took the score along to 43 before he pulled a short ball to square leg.
Smit played cautiously for his 24 but was beaten by one that nipped back from seamer Chris Pemberton and given LBW, before the off-spin of captain Chris Bullimore accounted for Andy Flindall and Rob Green cheaply and it was left to Ross Slater (15) to attempt to give the score some respectability with juniors making their first team league debuts.
A score of 86 all out in the 33rd over was a long way from respectable and to win Rutland needed the type of bowling blitz that has eluded them so far this season.
Staveley soon lost both openers – Tom Bullimore leaving a straight one from Green and brother Joe being run out after a calling mix-up.
Rutland then had Moulds break down with a recurrence of his back problem, and while Green beat the bat regularly, Staveley edged closer.
Chris Bullimore (42 not out) then latched onto some short balls from spinner Dan Bobeszko to race his team home by six wickets.
l West Hallam’s first XI have started their quest for promotion from Division Four North in emphatic style – winning all seven of the games they had played.
Their opponents on Saturday, Ilkeston Rutland 2nd XI are at the other end of the table albeit having played two games fewer than everyone else.
To add spice to the occasion, West Hallam featured two of last year’s Rutland first XI in James Lockhart and Tom Brandrick as well as Carl Cruz, once of Rutland.
Winning the toss, the home side fielded and soon had Rutland in trouble with Martin Brandrick edging to the keeper in Cruz’s first over.
Cruz also dismissed George Brandrick and had captain Ian Banks caught in the covers while at the other end West Hallam’s leading wicket-taker Peter Hort removed Chris Palfreyman and Dave Robinson to make it 30 for 5.
The resistance was led by Richard Kelleher (42) and John Hunt (24) who cautiously took the score past the 100 mark with a 57-run stand for the seventh wicket.
Ken Seaman was unluckily given out caught off a Lockhart beamer and Rutland closed on 118 for 9.
Tom Brandrick would dearly loved to have dominated against his former club mates and threatened to do so but the first off break delivered by his father Martin saw him neatly caught down the leg side by keeper Hunt for 19.
West Hallam, however, remained in utter command with their overseas Tim Hampton-Matehe making an unbeaten 33, Matt Tatler (34) and Cruz ending it with 16 from five deliveries.
For news on Ilkeston’s third XI and juniors, see the extended version of this report on www.ilkestonadvertiser.co.uk.