Ilkeston Rutland’s first XI made it three wins out of the last four as they overcame Elvaston by three wickets in a low-scoring nerve jangler at the Rec on Saturday.
Having won the toss, Rutland made good use of their decison to bowl with four wickets falling inside the first ten overs.
Rob Green accounted for both openers and at the other end Ian Banks had numbers three and four offering catches.
This brought the hard-hitting Naeem Akhtar to the crease. He started cautiously but soon began to pick off the boundaries.
He put on 72 with Zac Howard (29) and passed his half century against the change bowlers - John Trueman and Michael Chambers.
With seven overs left, Elvaston had recovered to 133 for 6 and were eyeing a total close to 200 when Chambers had Akhtar stumped by stand-in keeper Vic Pilbeam for 62.
The breakthrough allowed Rutland to bowl their visitors all out for 152 with Chambers picking up 4 for 33.
Chasing a modest total brings its own pressures but openers Dave Smit and John Trueman added 57 to ease the tension before Trueman was run out for 20.
Smit then watched as two more wickets fell almost immediately and it took a 40-run stand between himself and Banks (19) to restore Rutland’s ascendancy.
But again the game see-sawed. Smit was caught and bowled for 51 and Akhtar had recovered sufficiently from his innings to make his mark with the ball.
He took three middle order wickets including Darren Cundy for 22 to leave Rutland seven down and still 23 short of their target.
It made for queasy viewing from the balcony but David Robinson (9) and Sam Moulds (15) kept their heads to see Rutland home.
Rutland’s 2nd XI travelled to Clowne Town who were licking their lips in anticipation after winning the toss and batting in the blazing heat.
Last year they banged over 300 in this fixture but an improved Rutland performance in the field lowered their ambitions.
After a 72-run stand for the first wicket, a decent spell of spin bowling from Bryan Smith and Adam Slater saw four wickets tumble for 34 runs to give Rutland a glimmer of hope at 106 for 4.
But an unbeaten 58 from Matthew Reid and 43 from Glyn Long enabled Clowne to declare on 218 for 7, giving Rutland 50 overs to bat.
After 15 of them, Rutland were 79 for 1 and a second wicket partnership of 68 between father and son Ross and Adam Slater was raising hopes.
These were soon dashed by the umpire’s finger. First Ross was given LBW for 34 and after seeing the score past the 100 mark Adam’s run-a-ball 54 was ended by an even less convincing LBW shout.
Richard Kelleher (22) was the only other batsman to pass double figures and Rutland were wrapped up quicker than a plastic duck in Santa’s Grotto - Clowne victorious by 95 runs.
Rutland’s 3rd XI were well beaten by local rivals Stanton Elks in Nine North with Tom Henshaw leading the way for the hosts with 97 as they scored 216 for 6.
It proved too many as Henshaw capped a man of the match performance with 4 for 13 and a spectacular run out of the dangerous Lee Bradley.
Stanton’s 62 run win saw them go third in the table while Rutland slipped to seventh.