It is a case of so far so good for Ilkeston Rutland’s first XI.
On Saturday they overcame a talented Duffield side at the Rec by four wickets to maintain their status among the leading contenders in Division One.
The toss was an important one to win given the overcast conditions and Rutland captain Rob Green had no hesitation in asking the visitors to bat.
He was soon making the most of his good fortune as Duffield’s star recruit Ben McGonigal fended a rising delivery to slip where David Smit just managed to get his fingers under the ball, a fact accepted by the umpires after a short delay.
Green then clean bowled his opposite number Paul Bakel for a duck, had opener Jack Clark caught behind, before a diving Smit at cover made it four for the skipper with Duffield on only 52.
As Green and his new ball partner Sam Moulds took a breather, Thomas Roe (50) and Chris Sheldon (57 not out) added 65 but they were in rebuilding mode, boundaries were in short supply, and the run rate remained below par.
The beneficiary was Moulds who returned for a second spell just as Duffield looked to accelerate their scoring and stopped them with fast, straight deliveries.
Roe was the first to swing and miss and this was repeated by the lower order as Moulds completed the rare feat of a hat-trick in the final over of the innings to give him 5 for 43 and restrict Duffield to 167 for 9 from their 50 overs.
As ever, much depended on Smit, who has been in a particularly rich vein of form, in this, his first season as a father.
There was one scary moment when Duffield thought they had caught him in the covers but this time the umpires could not decide and he survived to record his fourth consecutive half century of the season.
He hit 11 boundaries and a six, adding 85 for the first wicket with Michael Chambers (22) and when he departed, caught down the leg side, Rutland were in cruise control on 105 for 1.
Luke Marriott and Damien Jones might have made it a very convincing win but they both fell for 17 and there were jitters moments later Green and Moulds both departed cheaply to leave Rutland on 154 for 6.
But Matt Wakefield was on hand to soothe the nerves with three clean strikes to the boundary to bring up victory with more than 15 overs to spare.
Next up for Rutland is a trip to the current Division One leaders Eckington.
Rutland’s 2nd XI find themselves at the bottom of Division 4 North after being blitzed by the legendary Saeed Bin Nazir, on their visit to Pilsley.
It was steady stuff up until tea with the visitors appearing to be in command making 217 for 8 with captain Ian Banks top scoring with 63.
There was a fluent 22 from Darren Cundy and a sixth wicket stand of 77 between George Brandrick (39) and Matt Sisson (35) who both scored at a run-a-ball.
Unfortunately for Rutland, Bin Nazir, who has amassed 9,689 runs since he joined Pilsley in 2006, was due some more having failed to make a century in his first three knocks of the season.
A former Pakistan test prospect, his career league average stands at 102.6 and he barely broke sweat in recording his 46th ton.
It was highly professional stuff – blocking the good length balls of Banks and savaging anything remotely short of a length.
His unbeaten 145 included 24 boundaries and three sixes and Pilsley won by eight wickets with six overs spare.
Rutland’s third XI suffered defeat in the league and the cup.
On Saturday they were blown away by Awsworth teenager Liam Miller who took 6 for 30 to restrict Rutland to 129 for 9 from their 46 overs.
Their semi-respectable score was down to Grant Robertson (40) and Richard Siddons (27) who added 71 for the fourth wicket.
Miller the batsmen then helped his side to a four wicket win, blasting 47, after Ainsley Hallam had taken three quick wickets at the start of Awsworth’s reply.
On Sunday, the 3rd XI lost by 81 runs in the Harry Lund Cup to Riddings 2nd XI who made 251 for 6 from their 46 overs with only the returning Bryan Smith exerting any control with the ball.
Rutland’s big guns failed to fire and despite a gutsy 36 from Lee Bradley they fell well short of their target.
There were wins in youth cricket with both the U15 and U13 sides beating West Hallam.
The U15s made 122 for 5 with George Brandrick retiring on 54, Matt Wragg 18 and Charlie Shetliffe an unbeaten 12.
With the exception of Josh Bostock (20) West Hallam put up little resistance and Tom Lowe continued his good form with three more wickets.
The U13s bowled well and held their catches to dismiss West Hallam for 58 with debutant Sam Purdy taking three wickets in his first over for the club.
They won comfortably by seven wickets thanks to an undefeated 27 by the hard hitting Ryan Woods and some deft touches from Luke Moore.